No Greater Sacrifice

After four years at West Point and over six years serving on active duty as an officer in the U.S. Army, I have seen my share of death.  The number of friends, classmates, and coworkers that have been casualties of the war on terror is too high for me to begin to count.

I think there might be the perception that you expect death or become almost immune to it if you are in or around the military.  Yes,  death is always a possibility when you deploy but I think most service men and women would tell you that they expect to return home to their loved ones.  You know there is an inherent risk when you join the military, but the desire to serve your country is greater then any fear you may have.

And let me tell you.  It doesn’t get easier. In fact, I would argue that it gets harder.  You get so tired of having to say goodbye to friends and coworkers, of good people losing their lives way too soon, and of seeing happy families torn apart and changed forever.  You get frustrated because things seem to stay the same despite their giving of their life.  And you get annoyed when other trivial stories get more press than your friend’s passing.

The war on terror doesn’t generate the same press that it did when it first started.  I will admit that I have no concept of what is going on in Afghanistan at the moment, where U.S. troops are stationed, or even how many are there. It’s easy to forget that there are still thousands of men and women protecting our freedom each and every day.

Despite my husband and I both being free and clear of any further commitment to the Army, we still have many friends, spouses of friends, and former coworkers still serving our country.

One of my husband’s best friends had recently deployed to Afghanistan, his third deployment during his 12+ Army career. Although Major Tom Kennedy (“TK”) had only been in my life for a few short years, he had been an integral part of my husband’s life since their first year at West Point in 1996. They were classmates, hockey teammates, roommates after graduation, and “Battle” or “Ranger” buddies during Ranger school.  TK and my husband spent most of the next eight years stationed at different posts throughout the world but still managed to overlap several times and made the most out of those times together.

We were thrilled when we learned that TK and his beautiful wife, Kami, were to be stationed at West Point for three years (starting in 2009).  My husband and I were living in NYC at the time and were excited to not just crash at their home during trips up to our alma mater (which we did numerous times) but to get to spend time with two of the nicest, warmest people we knew.

TK and Kami welcomed their adorable twins (Maggie and Brody) in early fall of 2010 and we soon followed with the birth our son in January.  Our families were present at many events for each other, including our son’s Christening and 1st Birthday Party.

After three years as faculty at West Point, TK returned to a line unit for what was supposed to be a short deployment.  He had been in Afghanistan for less than three weeks, when the unimaginable happened – Major Thomas Kennedy was KIA during a routine patrol in the eastern province of Kunar.

The world lost an amazing husband, father, son, brother, friend, and soldier Wednesday.  TK had the ability to light up a room with his smile and laugh and the world seems a bit dimmer since Wednesday night.

Regardless of your view on this war and whether the U.S. should even have a presence there, I just ask that you keep Major Kennedy, his wife, Kami, his children Maggie and Brody, his parents, family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

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Links

Full Story of the Attack

Memorial Page for MAJ Thomas Kennedy

Fundraising Page for his Children’s College Fund

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    32 thoughts on “No Greater Sacrifice

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    2. Michele- I found your blog by a google search, and I honestly thought you might be a runner with the organization No Greater Sacrifice (NGS). When I read your post I was beyond amazed to hear it was about Tom Kennedy’s sacrifice because No Greater Sacrifice (NGS) is an organization that provides college scholarships for children of the fallen and combat wounded. The Kennedy children are recipients of the organization. Please let us know how we can be more serving.
      Rebekah

    3. I’m catching up on my favorite blogs and am just now seeing this. I’m so sorry for your loss and and am keeping you and TK’s family in my thoughts and prayers. THANK YOU for all you and all our military have done! There really isn’t a greater sacrifice and I’m so sad the world has lost such a wonderful person. Best wishes to his family and yours.
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    4. Michelle, I’m so sorry for your loss! As an Army brat, and stationed at West Point for 6 years (and sponsoring tons of cadets), I can understand your pain/loss, as this has happened to me. It doesn’t ever make it easier. I’m praying that Maj. Kennedy is in a better place, and that his family can rest knowing that he gave the ultimate sacrifice to his country! Praying for his family and your family, as you find peace in the loss :(

    5. This was a beautiful post Miche. I’m thinking of you and Paul and TK’s family of course. :) Love you!

    6. Oh Michele … my heart is just aching for his family! I literally have chills right now. We too have been through that loss and seen it many times over … and it never gets easier. Nor should it.

      My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He made the ultimate sacrifice but so did they.
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    7. I’m not afraid to admit that I just cried reading this story. My brother-in-law just returned from Afghanistan about 18 days ago. He’s been deployed about 4 times in the last 7 years that they have been married…and he’s just in the reserves (Army). He goes both with the reserves and his company, and he and my sister have two boys (6 and 3). It drives my sister insane and breaks my heart on days she’s struggling alone. My heart breaks for Kami and their boys. I can’t imagine the feeling of losing my husband…and I’m so sorry for you and for your husband and the loss of such a long-time, great friend. You’re all in my prayers…

      And despite what others may think of the war on terror and the reasons for military presence in other countries, one thing should be remembered: those soldiers, leaving their families behind to live without them whether for months, years, or forever, are all fighting for something…for all of us. Sacrifice is sacrifice and it should NEVER be disrespected…and it’s not just the soldiers that do so…their wives, children, and families sacrifice for us as well.

    8. Im terribly sorry for you and your husband’s loss, Michele. That is just unimaginable and tragic. My heart and prayers are with all of his loved ones, especially his wife and twins.

    9. It definitely gets harder. The older we get, the more we learn to appreciate life and the bonds that knit our hearts together with friends & family. I was saddened to hear about the attack, but often so easy to hear these things and then go back to the busyness of our own lives.
      Thank you for the reminder that these are not just names and faces. These are fathers, husbands, friends. Each has a story, a legacy, and has truly given us the greatest sacrifice.
      I’m so sorry for your loss and will be praying!
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    10. I am a military spouse and the mother of twins… as I type this, I am sobbing for the loss of Major Thomas Kennedy. I am on my knees praying for Kami and her beautiful babies and all of the people who will miss the presence of Thomas. May the bright light of his essence hover and protect you and his family until you meet again. My deepest condolences many times over.
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    11. Oh man, this is so very sad, I am SO so so sorry to hear it my friend. I cannot even fathom witnessing one death, let alone hundreds of deaths while serving in the military. I SO respect what you all have done to serve our country so very much, it’s an incredible sacrifice to make.
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