Sunday, November 27, 2005
24 years ago today my son, Sgt. Jeremy R. Smith, was born. Today, in honor of his birthday, I went to see my son and wish him a happy un-birthday. You see, Jeremy is dead, taken away from his family and friends nearly twenty months ago. He was in the Army Reserves and was called to active duty. Two years ago, two days after Thanksgiving (which was his birthday that year – and the last he was to ever celebrate), his stepfather, Maxx, and I took him to report for active duty in Huntsville, TX.
For my family, holidays and birthdays are now marred by sadness and a bittersweet sense of longing for and memories of our beloved son and brother. Besides his parents (both birth parents and step parents), Jeremy left behind two younger sisters, Danielle and Jaime, who loved him dearly, four younger stepbrothers, and a myriad of other family members who loved him. I heard that one of his step cousins, who has the same first name as Jeremy, recently joined the Army Reserves and asked to be in the same unit Jeremy was in.
This morning, instead of waking Jeremy up the way I almost always did every year when he was growing up, by going in his room, kissing his silly face all over and singing “Happy Birthday!” to Jeremy, instead of opening presents and eating cake, Maxx and I went to the cemetery with balloons, flowers, a beer and a cigarette for our beloved son.
The holiday season in America is now in full swing. But for us and 2100+ other American families, there will be little of the joy they brought in the past. Our lives are changed forever, our holidays tainted, our hearts left aching.
For them, we must stop this evil, hideous war. One more death, American or Iraqi, is one too many.