Tuesday, August 16, 2005


When Lance Cpl. Taylor Prazynski was killed on May 9 in Iraq, his father knew the 3rd Battalion homecoming just wouldn't be the same anymore. When Taylor left for Iraq this past January, his family was SO proud of their Marine. After hearing about his death, his father said, "My son is a hero, not just because he died, but because he was there in support of what he believed. He told me the greatest thing any father would want to hear from his son - that he was where he was supposed to be, doing what he was supposed to be doing."

Now THAT'S a proud Marine Dad who "gets it". He understands "the rules", as set down by John Donovan with his family before every deployment, in case he didn't make it back: If you must talk to the press, remember I was a Soldier, and a volunteer, and I went willingly with my eyes open; I support the mission, even if you do not; and please don't be mad at me just because I zigged when I should have zagged.

Early one morning in May, John Prazynski got the news everyone fears: Taylor had died in a hospital in Fallujah from shrapnel wounds caused by an exploding mortar round. Instead of anger and resentment, this father is honoring his son's service to our country, and those who served along with him. He had promised Taylor he would be there when his unit returned from Iraq. "I still plan to be there," he said. "I promised my boy I'd be there, and I will."

This past weekend, John kept that promise. As the family and friends of the 3rd Battalion ran to their loved ones, Mr. Prazynski hung back, watching; dreaming. Finally, someone recognized him, and slowly, yet surely, he was welcomed by the returning Marines. They lined up to thank him for his son, and to personally let him know how much Taylor touched their lives. "Your son lifted us," said Taylor's squad leader, Sgt. Craig Corsi. "He was an awesome, awesome Marine."

That's the way to remember our fallen servicemen. Not like this. Or this.


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