Friday, October 24, 2008

Kevin Dickson: American Hero and My Son's Friend: Killed in Iraq

Kevin Dickson: A Family Friend and Former Student Turned American Hero

The first time I met Kevin Dickson was about two weeks after he moved here. They lived on Center Point Road, and school had just begun. My son Nick befriended him right off the bat, as well as his brothers, especially Anthony, but also Daniel. My husband and I were bowlers, and my children always went with us to the bowling alley to hang out while we bowled. Nick asked the three brothers to join him, and I swung by and picked them up. This happened several more times during the year. Kevin and his brothers were always polite, and I enjoyed spending time with them.
Not long after that, Anthony was in my history class, followed by Kevin. That boy was such a skinny little sprite back then, quiet and polite. He grew into a man and did what I always thought he’d do. He made something of himself. He might’ve done things the hard way in school. He might not have graduated top ten in his class. He might not have broken any sports records. It doesn’t matter. He did what he was meant to do. He joined the military, served his country, and tried to take care of the people he loved. Maybe he did that a little too well, considering. It seems he could never tell anyone he cared about no.
I’ll forever have the last memory of Kevin burned into my mind’s eye. The day before my son drove him to the airport in St. Louis to put him on a plane for the last time, I saw Kevin in Mobile. I hadn’t seen him in over a year, and I was amazed at the change in him. His military bearing, his respectful demeanor, his muscular build. He’d matured beyond most people’s expectations in more ways than one.
To my understanding, he continued to work out and build both his mind and body. As a matter of fact, his last moments might have been spent doing just that. It is quite possible no one will ever know what happened to Kevin Dickson while serving in Iraq. In my mind, it absolutely does not matter. He’ll always be my hero. He deserves my respect and the appreciation of all who knew him and all who didn’t. All soldiers do, whatever their end, whatever their past. Kevin will get no less that eternal gratitude from me.
As a former military member and his former teacher, I’d like to extend my condolences to his family and friends. He will be missed. It is my hope that people think and pray daily for the soldiers in this war, whether they be stationed in their homeland or on foreign soil. The military way of life is hard, but necessary. Without those willing to serve in one capacity or another, this country would falter. It still might, but there are those courageous souls who are doing their parts to keep that from happening.
And it’s costing them, and the loved ones they leave behind, dearly.
Goodbye, Kevin, until we meet again.

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