Category Archives: 4th of July

In Loving Memory of PFC Aaron E Fairbairn

In Loving Memory

Private First Class

Aaron E. Fairbairn

February 2, 1898 ~ Yakima. Washington
July 4, 2009 ~ Paktika, Afghanistan

Funeral Service

11:00 o’clock, Saturday. July 18, 2009
Aberdeen High School ~ Sam Benn Gym

Officiating

Pastors Doug Marks & Jake Broady

Private Family Graveside Service
with Full Military Honors

Sunset Memorial Park
Hoquiam, Washington

Pallbearers

Andy Johnson, Justin Fairbairn, Gail Cross, Jesse Cross, Daniel Oszman, Kenny Bensinger

After Glow

“I’d like the memory of me to be a happy one.
I’d like to leave an after glow of smiles when life is done.
I’d like to leave an echo whispering softly down the ways,
of happy times and laughing times and bright and sunny days.
I’d like the tears of those who grieve, to dry before the sun
of happy memories that I leave when life is done.”

Remembering PFC Aaron Fairbairn 4th of July

Aaron Fairbairn and so many others have given all they possibly could on our behalf. It is the men and women who have made the ultimate sacrifice over the years that enable us to celebrate enthusiastically on Independence Day, the 4th of July.

PFC Aaron Fairbairn Homecoming Bowerman Field Hoquiam Washington July 2009

Aaron so loved celebrating the 4th of July with our family in an annual reunion usually in Seaside, Oregon, a coastal town, not far from our Aberdeen, Washington hometown. Aaron thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of it all, especially firing off his own fireworks and viewing the local fireworks spectacle of Seaside’s Independence Day celebrations.

It seems somewhat a twist of fate, that he would be killed by military fireworks while in combat in Paktika, Afghanistan during a surprise attack on his base of the 4th of July.

The day, when we would have been celebrating with Aaron in proxy (as we all had spoken to him the evening of July 3rd) on this day, Aaron’s mother, sister and brother were on a flight to Dover, to await Aaron’s return to U.S. soil.

I was there, when he took the oath to serve, even pledged to die, if necessary, for our country. To tell you the truth, I never thought he would have to pay that price for his service, or that Aaron’s life would end like this, at 20-years-old, on his first tour.

Today, and on every 4th of July now, we still gather (now as separate families) celebrating the 4th of July with a much more somber respect and attitude than before Aaron’s passing… And I know that we are not alone.

Aberdeen VFW Post 224 honors Grays Harbor KIA in Aberdeen Founders Day Parade July 2 2016 Aaron Fairbairn a

There are so many families and friends of those who have answered the call and given their all. We honor them, their sacrifice, and the loss of the ones left behind to honor the memories of their service, without which we would not enjoy the lives that we live.

A huge “Thank You,” and a slow salute for all the fallen and the friends and families with whom we share this honor.

#thankyouaaron

 

Independence Day July 4th Five Years Ago

Independence Day; it’s not all about partying – although celebrating our liberties is certainly a major component – it is also a time to reflect gratitude for those who have paved the way for the freedoms that we enjoy in our great nation.

PFC-Aaron-Fairbairn-KIA-July-4-2009-Paktika-Afghanistan-thankyouaaronMy wife and I had the privilege to raise a young man into the kind of man who would be honored as a hero laying down his life on our behalf in honor of those very freedoms. PFC Aaron Fairbairn was an inspiration and a blessing to all who knew him and especially his brothers in arms who were there on that fateful day in Paktika, Afghanistan, to me, he was – and will always be – my son.

The fourth of July has always been a special time for Aaron and our family, as we would rendezvous every year at a seaside community to celebrate Independence Day and enjoy the fireworks. Aaron always enjoyed lighting his own fireworks on the beach prior to the official pyrotechnic performance. The only other holiday he loved more, was Christmas.

It was five years ago, today, that Aaron’s mother and I answered a knock at the door; a pair of unexpected Army men in full-dress uniform. It was impossible to believe the news, as it had only been hours since we’d talked to Aaron on the phone.

sascha-beau-aaron

Sascha, Beau and Aaron

Within hours Aaron’s brother, Beau, sister Sascha and my wife, Shelley, were accompanied by a Casualty Assistance Officer flying from Seattle to Dover to meet Aaron when he touched down on American soil.

I had done such a good job of doing what I could to keep everyone as calm as possible, blanketed in love, ‘til their departure. I had called every friend and family member’s number in our address book. Since it was the 4th of July, I was forced to leave phone messages for everyone.

At the time, I had been working with a team of authors for a couple of months and we’d kept contact through Twitter. Though they were obviously not online at the time, I reached out to Twitter. My first compassionate words following the departure of my family were from a Twitter user I didn’t even know.

Freedom-is-not-free-thankyouaaron-Aaron-Fairbairn-July-4In that moment all my strength vanished as my heart broke. Within hours the Twitter community had chimed-in and the hashtag #thankyouaaron rocketed up to number one on the Twitter charts in honor of Aaron’s sacrifice.

I was blessed, encouraged as Aaron was honored in that moment, and it helped me knowing that Aaron’s loss of life was not inconsequential; even in his sacrifice, he had touched the lives of others who hadn’t (and never would have) had the chance to experience the joy of meeting him.

The last five years has been like a lifetime, only to have Aaron’s name in the media again, due to some connection that may exist between Bowe Bergdahl’s “capture” and the attack that resulted in Aaron’s making the ultimate sacrifice.

Aaron-E-Fairbairn-Justin-A-Casillas-PFC-Army-4-July-09-AfghanistanI hope that whatever drama surrounds Bergdahl doesn’t tarnish the image of any service man or woman who puts their life on the line every day, so that we can celebrate Independence Day; Aaron was such a man. And I have the deepest respect and gratitude for anyone who donned a uniform and stood shoulder to shoulder with Aaron.

America may have issues, but I love this country and every man and woman who is willing to step up for you and I, so that we can enjoy – and even argue or complain about – this great land of the free and home of the brave.

Thank you, all who have answered the call. We are all forever in your debt.

God bless you – and America,

-David Masters

 

 

Twitter Hashtag #thankyouaaron Honors Fallen Soldier

Only July 4th amidst the celebration of Independence Day the hastag #thankyouaaron rocketed up the Twitter charts in the first social media permanent memorial of a fallen soldier. PFC Aaron Fairbairn was killed in an attack on his outpost in Paktika, Afghanistan.

PFC-Aaron-Fairbairn-OfficialFollowing the departure of Aaron’s mother, Shelley Masters, brother, Beau Beck and sister, Sascha Davidson via flight to Dover, Delaware to await the arrival of Aaron’s body on U.S. soil, David Masters, Fairbairn’s stepfater, tweeted about the events as they unfolded in realtime.

According to David, “In my family’s absence, I was running ‘Aaron Central,’ phoning everyone I could to report the loss of Aaron. Being the 4th of July, I was unable to contact anyone in person as everyone was out celebrating. All I could do was leave answering machine messages and voicemails.

Frustrated, grieving and feeling so isolated and alone, I reached out to my friends via Twitter… who were also not monitoring their Twitter feeds at the time… but I did get one reply from a stranger that said simply, ‘Sorry for your loss.’

It was so good to have some human interaction as my family was in-flight across the USA, and that simple message touched my heart, and I fell apart. Realizing the reality of what had taken place on this day.

The result was seeing Aaron’s sacrifice honored by so many twitter followers that the hashtag #thankyouaaron reached number one on the Twitter charts.

That evening and in the days that followed, Aaron was featured in major media, newspapers, radio, news and television programs.”

Tim-Madding-Aaron-Fairbairn-David-Masters-Ethan-MaddingAdam Koeppe says, “I may not remember where I was when Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was number one on the charts, but I will always remember seeing “thank you Aaron” becoming the top Twitter topic. If there had been any doubt of the internet’s ability to bring people together for a cause they believe in, the appreciation of the service of Aaron Fairbairn should eliminate this misconception completely.

‘Thank you Aaron’ was a moment those involved will never forget. In an era where there are few true heroes, the Twitterverse chose to honor the life of a young man. Without the filtering and bias of the mainstream media, the world is showing it’s true heart and soul through social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook.”

Augie Ray, Director of Social Media for a Fortune 100 financial service commpany shares his personal experience, “I had just come home from a Fourth of July picnic. My mood was happy and
carefree–I’d enjoyed the company of friends, ate well, and lit the fuses on more than my share of fireworks. Then I saw a tweet from someone I follow and it changed my mood instantaneously. Aaron’s sacrifice, his father’s anguished tweets, and the concern of those who are complete strangers to Aaron and David put the day and its meaning into perspective.”

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,530123,00.html

http://www.mediaite.com/online/slain-soldier-aaron-fairbairns-dad-rallies-twitter-tribute/

http://www.adamkoeppe.com/aaron-fairbairn-s-story-how-social-media-memorialized-a-fallen-soldier

http://www.experiencetheblog.com/2009/07/twitters-big-heart-thankyouaaron.html

 

 

Remembering #thankyouaaron Killed on the 4th of July

On the evening of July 3rd, David Masters and his wife, Shelley, laughed in relief Friday when they learned their son, an Army private in Afghanistan, was just fine, busy working out and watching videos his family had sent.

Aaron-Fairbairn-Senior-PhotoThen, on Saturday, Fourth of July morning, an Army chaplain and soldier showed up at their Aberdeen house and told him Pvt. Aaron Fairbairn, 21, had been fatally injured in a truck bombing. Based on news accounts, Masters believes Fairbairn was one of two soldiers fatally injured when a Taliban insurgent drove an explosives-filled truck through the gates of a U.S. base in Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province.

The Department of Defense had yet to confirm the identities of the two killed.

The news was devastating for a family that had come together a decade ago in a union mirroring the “Brady Bunch” clan: The marriage was the second for both Masters and his wife, who each had three kids roughly the same age. Fairbairn was Masters’ stepson.

“If there’s any day when you’re going to make that kind of sacrifice … ” Masters said, his voice tearfully trailing away. Finally, he said: “I realize Aaron’s just one guy coming home not sitting in a seat. Lots of other guys have made that same sacrifice.”

Sascha-Davidson-Aaron-Fairbairn-Jaycie-Wakefield-Tabitha-Bastien-Jeff-WakefieldUntil Fairbairn enlisted, family members would drop everything on the Fourth to assemble in Seaside, Oregon, an annual tradition. “For our family, it’s a really huge deal,” Masters said.

This year, Fairbairn’s mother, brother and sister flew to Dover, Del., on Independence Day so they could bring the young soldier’s remains back to Washington.

“At first I didn’t believe it,” said Beau Beck, Fairbairn’s oldest brother, who learned about his brother’s death while he was coaching a Little League team.

“I talked to Aaron probably 12 hours prior to that,” Beck said from Dover. “The first thing that rushed to my mind is that he’s so young and such a good kid.”

His stepfather described him as joyous, honest and dependable, the kid everyone knew first as the paperboy, then as a local lot attendant or the guy who worked at Papa Murphy’s Pizza.

Tim-Madding-Aaron-Fairbairn-Andrea-Madding-Ethan-MaddingFairbairn, a graduate of Aberdeen’s Weatherwax High, was an off-road enthusiast who loved riding dirt bikes and four-wheeling in his truck. He hadn’t yet decided what he wanted to do after the service but leaned toward mechanics.

After getting the news of Fairbairn’s death, Masters went online, sending out a post on social-networking service Twitter.

Masters noted that he would like to see his son’s sacrifice observed using the term #thankyouaaron. For a time late Saturday night his request was fulfilled and “#thankyouaaron” was the most-used term on Twitter, according to the Web site. Other Twitter posters by the thousands thanked Fairbairn and sent words of encouragement to his family.

Just last week, Masters and his wife felt reassured about Fairbairn’s well-being even though he was in Afghanistan. They had heard a report saying a U.S. soldier had been kidnapped. Because they hadn’t heard from Fairbairn in a while, Masters messaged him on the social-networking site MySpace, which his stepson used to stay in touch with family and friends.

“I told him he’d better call,” said Masters, an officer for the state Department of Corrections.

Aaron-Fairbairn-with-mortarWhen he finally did, Masters said, it turned out their youngest son hardly ever left the base, spending much of his free time watching the show “Heroes” on DVDs his family had shipped to Afghanistan.

“He was just glad to be over there making a few extra bucks so he could pay off his truck,” Masters said.

According to Associated Press reports, the attack on the base was part of a multipronged attack in the Paktika province and came as thousands of U.S. Marines in the country’s south continued with a massive anti-Taliban push.

Beck said some may find patriotic significance in his brother’s death on July Fourth. “But I don’t care about that. It’s my brother.”

Thanks to the following sources for honoring Aaron’s Sacrifice:

http://seattletimes.com/html/localnews/2009421919_soldier06m.html

http://www.vancouverite.com/2009/07/06/on-independence-day-a-few-hours-ago-they-killed-my-son-aaron-in-afghanistan/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/07/05/thank-you-aaron-a-us-soldiers-sacrifice-on-independence-day/

http://northshorejournal.org/aaron-fairbairn-kia-afghanistan-july-4-2009

 

Battle Of COP Zerok Paktika Province Afghanistan July 4th 2009

Battleground Afghanistan documentary on Spartan Heroes: Battle Of COP Zerok Paktika Province Afghanistan July 4th 2009

Features July 4th, 2009 attack on the Airborne 4th Brigade 25th Infantry Division at RC East, 4/25 ABCT Area of Operation South Eastern Afghanistan 3-509 Infantry Airborne Battalion.

In memory of PFC Justin Casillas & PFC Aaron Fairbairn

They will never be forgotten

The documentary features video taken that day by soldiers, as well as propaganda video found on insurgents weeks after the battle.

“Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” – Thomas Paine 1776

July 4th, 2009 at 0535 the first round impacted Combat Out Post Zerok, E. Paktika, Afghanistan as Able Company 3-509 jumped into action to respond in kind.

Including PFC Josh Fuller Grenadier, SPC James Channer Gun Team Leader, SSG Jarrod Mahfouz Fire Support NCO, 1LT Mike Bassi 2nd Platoon Leader, SPC David Fantell Team Leader, 1LT Jonathan Mummert Fire Support OIC, CPT Bryce Kawaguchi Able Co. Commander, SPC Gregory Jemison Senior Line Medic

spartan-heroes-attack-on-the-4th-of-july-pfc-justin-casillas-pfc-aaron-fairbairn-305-infantry-airborne-battalion“The attack on Cop Zerok was an assault on the men who fought bravely that day. But it was also an affront on the values that make America great. It was no coincidence the insurgence attacked on Independence Day. These terrorists stand against everything the United States fights for. The 4th of July is a day to celebrate our freedom and during all the wonderful festivities take a moment to remember the sacrifice of men like Casillas and Fairbairn along with the millions before them that have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our liberty.”

Story by SPC Robert Ham

Awards from the July 4th Attack

Silver Star: PFC Justin Casillas

Bronze Star Medal with V device: CPL Brian Phillips, SPC James Channer

Army Commendation Medal with V device: 1LT Jonathan Mummert, SSG Jarrod Mahfouz, SGT Christian Nooney, SGT Michael Fink, PFC Jeremy Theisen, SPC David Fantell

Our deepest gratitude for all the men who fought bravely with PFC Aaron Fairbain, and to all the men and women continue to serve for the greater good. God bless you.