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This will make even a grown man cry... this will make the toughest of the tough cry...
Every day we see the reports of brave Americans dying, this puts a face on the statistics.
A Daughter's Last Email
Jessica Blankenbecler, 14, e-mailed this final letter to her father, Command Sgt. Maj. James Blankenbecler, at 1:29 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 3., two days after he was killed in a convoy in Samara, Iraq. The Herald is publishing it, in its entirety, with the family's permission. Command Sergeant Major Blankenbecler was stationed here in Hawaii with the 25th Infantry Division on Schofield Barracks prior to his promotion to CSM.
Hi Daddy,
Sorry I haven't written to you in a while. A lot of things have been going
on. I miss you so much. How have you been? Is heaven everything it says it
is? I know it's probably that and more. I can't wait 'till I can come join
you again. I miss you so much - just being here for me to hold your hand and
you calling me "princess." But one day we can do this again. But it will be
even better because Jesus will be with us. I keep going in your office to
see all your things and your awards that you have gotten over the years. You
accomplished so much. I am proud you were my daddy; I would not have chosen
anyone else. I like to go into your closet, too and just touch and smell all
your clothes ... it gives me so many memories that I miss so much. Sitting
at this table I see your writing on a little piece of paper telling me and
mom what e-mail and address in Iraq to write to you ... CSM JAMES D.
BLANKENBECLER, 1-44 ADA. I love to just look at your handwriting so much.
I have your military ring on right now. It's kind of big for my little
finger, but it makes me feel you're holding my hand when I have it on ....
It's been on since we found out the news. I have your driver's license with
me, too, so I can just look at you whenever I want. You have a little smile
this time. When we went to get them done in El Paso I asked you to just
smile this time ... and you did it just for me. I also was looking at your
car keys and that little brown leather pouch you always had on your key
chain. It made me cry a lot when I picked it up. Everything reminds me of
you so much. When we pass by Chili's I remember you sitting across from me
eating your favorite salad. You always told the waiter to take off the
little white crunchy things ... because you hated them. And when we drive by
billboards that say "An Army of One," it makes me remember you in your
military uniform. How you always made a crunching sound when you walked, and
how you shined your big boots every night before you went to bed. I miss
seeing that all the time. Little things that I took for granted when you
were here seem priceless now.
One thing that I regret is when you wanted to open my car door for me, but I
always got it myself. I wish I would have let you do it. And when you wanted
to hold my hand, I sometimes would pull away because I didn't want people to
see me holding my daddy's hand ... I feel so ashamed that I cared what
people thought of me walking down the parking lot holding your hand. But now
I would give anything just to feel the warmth of your hand holding mine.
I can't believe this has happened to my daddy ... the best daddy in the
whole world. It feels so unreal, like you're still in Iraq. You were only
there for 17 days. Why did they have to kill you? Why couldn't they know how
loved you are here? Why couldn't they know? You have so many friends that
love you with all their hearts and you affected each and every person you
have met in your lifetime. Why couldn't they know? When I get shots at the
hospital I won't have my daddy's thumb to hold tight. Why couldn't they know
I loved for you to call me "princess"? Why couldn't they know if they killed
you I would not have a daddy to walk me down the aisle when I get married?
Why couldn't they know all this? Why? I know that you are gone now, but it
only means that I have another angel watching over me for the rest of my
life. That's the only way I can think of this being good. There is no other
way I can think of it.
All the kids at my school know about your death. They even had a moment of
silence for you at our football game. A lot of my teachers came over to try
to comfort me and mom. They all ask if they can get us anything, but the
only thing anyone can do is give me my daddy back ... and I don't think
anyone can do that.
You always told me and mom you never wanted to die in a stupid way like a
car accident or something like that. And you really didn't die in a stupid
way ... you died in the most honorable way a man like you could - protecting
me, mom, Joseph, Amanda and the rest of the United States.
In the Bible it says everyone is put on this earth for a purpose, and once
they accomplished this you can return to Jesus. I did not know at first what
you did so soon to come home to God. But I thought about it - you have done
everything. You have been the best husband, father, son and soldier in the
world. And everyone knows this.
One of my teachers called me from El Paso and told me that when her dad died
he always told her, "when you walk outside the first star you see is me."
She told me that it is the same for me and you. I needed to talk to you last
night, and I walked outside and looked up ... and I saw the brightest star
in the sky. I knew that was you right away, because you are now the
brightest star in heaven.
I love you so much, daddy. Only you and I know this. Words can't even begin
to show how much. But I tried to tell you in this letter, just a portion of
my love for you. I will miss you, daddy, with all of my heart. I will always
be your little girl and I will never forget that...
I love you daddy, I will miss you!!
P.S. I have never been so proud of my last name.
Sunrise - June 27, 1963
Sunset - October 1, 2003
That letter reminds me of the first few days after my dad died... I kept his DL with me... smelled his clothes a lot, and I even set up an outfit in his chair and stuffed it a bit so it would stay there... had shoes on it and all for a while...
-The Wolf