Tag Archives: 4th of july

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

 

 

Memorial Day 2014

On Memorial Day we remember the fallen. Those who have made the ultimate sacrifice.

Remember-the-Fallen-Memorial-Day-2014-Aaron-FairbairnThere are so many who have given some and so many who have given all in the name of God and country.

On July 4th, 2009, PFC Aaron Fairbairn joined the ranks of the heroes who have he ultimate price on our behalf, so that we can live in a land that is free.

I am not the only person who would have gladly traded places with Aaron in that moment. Aaron was so loved and had so much to give that many would have rather taken his place so that the world would know how much he had to give to other privileged to share in his presence. But his journey was that of the honored hero by his choice and was his destiny.

There is not a more honorable challenge to any human who is willing to lay down his life for the benefit of his friends, and Aaron and so many others have accepted this charge that we remember on this day and are so grateful for their sacrifice.

In this way they have made such a significant impact on our lives, that is easy for us to overlook while we are content to work, play and relax in our neighborhoods and homes as others – even now – have elected to accept the difficult details for us, knowing that any breath they take might be their last.

This day, I join with all by brethren who have also lost a loved one in service to God and country, because the sacrifice is not only paid by the hero, but also evermore by each and everyone who love and cared for the… and are reminded of their sacrifice daily.

But on this day, we all stand hand-in-hand agreeing together regardless of our differences in gratitude of all who have fallen for us.

We honor, love and are grateful for each and every one, this Memorial Day (if not every day of) 2014. God bless all who have gone on to fight the fight from beyond, and all those who still feel the price of their heroism.

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

 

Remember the Fallen – Memorial Day

PFC Aaron E. Fairbairn was only 20 years old when he made good on his promise to honor God and country, even to the extent of having to sacrifice his own life while fighting amidst his heroic brothers in arms. On that unforgettable 4th of July, 2009, Aaron joined the rank and file of the countless number of other heroes who have sacrificed their all in service of America, and the freedoms that we the living hold so dear, yet all too often take for granted.

aaron-fairbairn-memorial-day-600We celebrate during this long weekend, saluting those who gave their all for the notion that we, each and every one, are born with inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. However, for Aaron, and all who gave their lives, let us take a moment to pause in silence, to remember.

While you are enjoying the holiday with those you care about, let us think of the other families whose members are absent, for they have paid the ultimate price for this occasion. All have given some and some have given all. In memory of Aaron, I respectfully request that you join me in honoring all past American heroes, and pray for their souls and their loved ones, while also honoring those who continue to put themselves in harms way for us, here at home.

Because my Aaron was so alive with the promise of America, and a better world for all mankind, my Memorial Day not only glorifies those who have been lost, but those who are in action right now. My Memorial Day reminds me of those who have not only crossed over while wearing a uniform, but those who are serving proudly, though oftentimes neither respected nor appreciated appropriately. My Memorial Day merges the past and present for allowing us the freedoms of this great country.

Aaron died defending freedom. We the living must salute those in service who continue to serve from beyond while continuing to support those who have taken their place. Whenever I hear taps, when I see fireworks in the sky, when I see flags hanging proudly on their staffs, I know that I am safe and I know that I am free. How good it is to know that as long as courageous men and women are willing to fight for all that is great about America, we can sing ‘God Bless America’, and say, ‘Thank you’.

In loving memory, of Aaron Fairbairn.