Monday, November 24, 2008

One of the things I am MOST thankful this Thanksgiving...

is my husband Jack.  Jack is not only my hubby, he is my support, my parenting "relief", life assistant, live-in comedian, and the best friend I could ever dream of having.  He is the greatest "partner in crime" EVER!!!!  

So Jack my love, I am thankful for YOU and I love you SOOOO much!

Here is a story about true love and one of our soldiers who did not come home from Iraq.  This story made me thank God to have Jack by my side and to stop my daily "chaos" and tell Jack, "Babe, I love you!"

This is the story of Katherine Cathey & 2nd Lt. James Cathey:

"At the first sight of her husband's flag-draped casket, Katherine Cathey broke down in uncontrollable sobs, finding support in the arms of Major Steve Beck.  When Beck first knocked on her door in Brighton, Colorado, to notify her of her husband's death, she glared at him, cursed him and refused to speak to him for more than an hour.  Over the next several days, he helped guide her through the grief.  By the time they reached to tarmac to meet the plane 2nd Lt. James Cathey's body was being brought home on, she wouldn't let go.

When James' body arrived at the Reno Airport, Marines climbed into the cargo hold of the plane and draped the flag over his casket as passengers watched the family gather on the tarmac.  

During the arrival of another Marine's casket last year at Denver International Airport, Major Steve Beck described the scene as one of the most powerful in the process.  "See the people in the windows?  They sit right there in the plane, watching those Marines.  You gotta wonder what's going through their minds, knowing that they're on the the plane that brought him home," he said.  "They're going to remember being on the plane for the rest of their lives.  And they should."

Minutes after her husband's casket was placed in the hearse, Katherine fell onto his coffin.  When her husband had left for Iraq, he wrote a letter to Katherine that read, in part, ".........there are no words to describe how much I love you, and will miss you.  I will also promise you one thing:  I will be home.  I have a wife and a new baby to take care of, and you guys are my world."

After arriving at the funeral home, Katherine pressed her pressed her pregnant belly to her husband's casket.  Two days after she was notified of her husband's death in Iraq, she found out they would have a boy.  Their baby was born on December 23, 2005, he is named James Jeffrey Cathey Jr.

The night before the burial of her husband's body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time.  The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag.  Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of her husband.

One of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch while she slept, Katherine said, "I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it, I think that's what he would have wanted."

The 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography went to Todd Heisler and Rocky Mountain news for this photographic series.  All rights reserved by Todd Heisler and Rocky Mountain News.

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