Fallen Heroes of Operation Enduring Freedom

Remembering the servicemembers who died in the service of their country.

Marine Sgt. James S. Lee

26, of Mt. Vernon, Indiana.
Lee died in Ghazni, Afghanistan, when the Army CH-47 helicopter he was on crashed. He was assigned to Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 142, Marine Aircraft Group 42, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, Marietta, Georgia. As part of Operation Enduring Freedom he was attached to Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 773, Marine Aircraft Group 42, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing. Died on April 6, 2005.

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"A few days late for Memoroal Day, but I wanted to say once again than-you for your service Sgt Lee. You're not forgotten and I still wear my bracelet with your name on it with pride. Bless you and your family. 🇺🇸"
Teri O'Connor of Ventura, CA

"You are remembered and missed Brother..
From the Marines of MWSS-473 SEMPER FI!"
Lcpl. - Sgt. Hunninghake of Fontana, Ca

"To the family of Sgt James Lee, My name is Megan O'Brien from St. Louis, MO. In September 2016, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of 9/11/01, St. Louis, MO put up a display of 7,000 flags - each one bearing the photograph and a dog tag for each service person lost in the War on Terror since 9/11/01. For 5 days, the flags flew - and myself, along with many other volunteers, kept watch over the flags, helped people find the flags of their loved ones and honored the fallen. It is our goal to deliver the flags of each person to their families and loved ones. I have the flag of Sgt Lee in my possession and would like to send it to the family along with his photograph and dog tag. I've learned a bit about him through articles online and rest assured, his legacy and memory live on. I'm on the Board of the Saint Louis Military Officer Support Foundation and can be reached through the contact form at www.buildwarriors.org I'd be happy to tell you more about the memorial and learn about his life. You can also see a drone video of the event at www.buildwarriors.org or learn more about the display at https://flagsofvalorusa.com. With gratitude for his service and sacrifice, Megan O'Brien"
Megan O'Brien of Saint Louis, Missouri

"It haunts me every day to not get to see you and some days it hurts, I wish I could see you one last time. I Love you Big Bird"
Drake Ricketts of Mt. Vernon

"Jim, I miss you and the fellowship of faith that we shared. Your faith lit up the hearts of so many in this life who will thank you in the next."
Regina Quinn, aunt of Lake Charles, LA

"Jimmy I will never forget the look on your face when Aunt Midge called me over so you could ask me if Chucky and Lola could stay with her while you were overseas. She had told me earlier you were going to ask me and she told me to tell you no. As everyone knows its hard to say no to you. When you asked and I said no your face had a look of utter shock. I immediately said yes and you punched me on the arm. I'm sorry for doing that. I loved helping Aunt Midge take care of those two.
I miss you and think about you everyday."
Lisa Theodosis of Mt. Vernon, In

"I will never forget Sgt. Lee's pursuit of Jesus Christ. I was with him through most of the deployment and he would ask me to go to the chapel with him. He was extremely knowledgeable of the bible and and put so much peace in my heart. I could never thank him enough and wish I would have then. His word and name will always live on with me and anyone who knew him was lucky to have met him. A true Marine and an even better angel. Semper Fi Sgt. Lee!"
Brendan Iler of Lake Charles, LA

"More than a little sad today. Thinking about how much has happened since we last saw each other. Love and miss you. 4/6/2014"
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, Illinois

"I was his niece I did not even get to meet him only a couple of times when I was a baby but I hold a strong feeling for my uncle but he will all always be in my heart presented by: kylee.s.Dowden thank you for whoever was reading"
kylee Dowden of mt.vernon

"Thinking of James and the entire family today. words cannot express the gratitude for your sacrifice. Blessings to you all."
Teri OConnor of Burbank, CA USA

"I was just thinking about Jimmy, as i have often over the years. You see, we were childhood friends. I met Jimmy Shawn when we were 14 on a church event. We went roller skating. I saw this cute guy trying really hard to stay up and not on his bum. He had a skater hair cut but wasn't a skater! We became instant best friends. Those of you who were blessed to meet Jimmy know what I'm talking about. He just had a way about him that made you want to be his friend. We were close for many years, I was sad when he joined the marines because i knew i would miss my friend like crazy! We would write and keep in touch, see each other when he would come back for visits. Still the same silly sweet guy i always knew and loved. I remember he told me about Sunny and said i would like her. He told me he was going to marry her.. i thought it was quick but he loved her so how could it not be fast enough! I didn't get to meet her... we lost touch, i moved to LA and he was overseas. It wasn't until today actually that i found out what had happen to my friend. I would do name searches for him but since he had changed his name nothing was coming up. Today it did. I'm heartbroken that i won't see him again in this life. And even more heartbroken he didn't get to live a long happy life. I'm sorry my friend. I will always love and miss you.

Destiny~ not sure if you remember meeting me, it has been so very long ago but i remember you and i hope that where ever you are and whatever you are doing in this life that you know that Jimmy was so very proud to have you as his sister. I'm sure you don't need me to tell you that but i needed to. If you would like to email me , i would like to hear from you. galloway1978@gmail.com
God blessed us all with Jimmy, he was a beautiful light out to fast. I can see he was a light to all of you too.
~ Suzanne"
Suzanne Galloway of Evansville In, Los Angeles CA

"Well son, as your sister said she had her first three kids at the time of your death, and any future kids she would have are the ones you and Sunny would have had. So, since then she and Billy have had a beautiful boy named Hunter Blake William, and the next one, who is due on Feb 15th 2012, will be named, KLOE ELAINA DIANE. I know you would have loved all of them equally and would be very very proud at how unique and special they all are. Dante is now 12, Kylee is 9, Joshua is 6, and Hunter is 4. As for me, I just had my birthday a week ago and it was a good one too. But no matter how many new babies, and how many birthdays go by each year since you died---nothing can ever erase how much we all wish you were right here sharing in it all. I love you so much son, and I miss you more and more as time goes by. We will never be the same without you. You empowered us all with your love and wonder and your unique and gentle kindness to all. But the greatest gift you ever gave us was the immense love you had for God. You led me on a stronger path to be closer to Him and He is what I hang onto . His love sustains me and brings me immeasurable joy. Thank you Shawn MOM"
Rebecca Blanchard of eaglezone01@yahoo.com.

"MEMORIAL DAY








































(This must be very old. Look at prices of hot dogs and gas!)


















Keep it
moving, please, even if you've seen it before.
It is the
VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.

It is
the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.

It is
the VETERAN, not the poet,
who has given us freedom of speech.

It is
the VETERAN,
not the campus organizer,
who has given us freedom to assemble.

It is
the VETERAN, not the lawyer,
who has given us the right to a fair trial.


It is
the VETERAN, not the politician,
Who has given us the right to vote.









It is the
VETERAN who
salutes the Flag,









It is
the
VETERAN who serves
under the Flag,

ETERNAL
REST GRANT THEM O LORD, AND LET PERPETUAL LIGHT SHINE UPON
THEM.



I'd be
EXTREMELY proud if this email reached as many as possible. We can be very
proud of our young men and women in the service no matter where they serve.



God
Bless them all!!!"
Judie Gay of Pasadena TX

"Well son, it has now been 6 whole years since you passed. It seems like just yesterday, but now we have had many precious blessings also since that day. we did not get to have the BBQ this time like we have been doing, but Destiny and I did get to spend a big part of the afternoon together here at my house. Julie and her youngest baby ZOE age 1 were here too which was fun. Midge and I went for a two day visit to Louisville to visit Pete and Sylvia and Lexi. Lexi has had to undergo some medical tests but thank God the results were not devastating. She will need to be on preventive medicine for at least 6 months but I am sure God has her health under HIS control and His loving hands. Though we all miss you more by the day, all is well and is in HIS hands, just as you are always in our hearts. I love you son,"
MOM eaglezone01@yahoo.com of Crossville, Illinois

"You got such a kick out of telling ridiculously unfunny jokes, and I used to wish you would shut up. Now I'd give anything to hear you again. Miss and love you today and always."
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, IL

"To all who have lost a loved one in this war, and to my son Fallen Marine Sgt Jimmy Shawn Lee,

The Patriot Guard Riders have been now two years in a row, to honor you at your grave in New Harmony, Ind. Last year they brought with them a woman who was doing a documentary on the Guard Riders and how they honor the fallen. Today I was invited as a Gold Star Mother to go to the premier event and see the finished movie. Luckily the footage they did of your grave with Me, Dante and Joshua was short or I would not have been able to keep my tears in check any longer. It is so powerful and had such a profound effect on all of us. It was beautifully created and stirs the emotions of even the most strong of souls. Afterwards there was a get together party in which we all got to interact with the film maker, crew, many of the Patriot guard Riders and the families of the fallen. Each time there is an event like this I must say I am proud to know your memory lives on in so many hearts, but as your Mom, it takes me back to the day you were born, the day your brother Joshua died, and yes, the day I watched them lower you body in the grave. It stirred up so many sad and beautiful and yet horrible and painful things in me that I was still shaking from the over pouring of emotion hours later. I am just now able to calm down. To any who choose to go see it---I want to personally thank you. And I pray for the day this horrible war ever gets done. One thing I know for sure---IT WILL NEVER BE WHAT I CAN CALL---OVER! With each passing second I miss you more my sweet sons, someday I will hold you in my arms again and that and your sister Destiny are what keep me breathing."
Mom, Becky Blanchard of crossville, Illinois

"Gabriel,
Thank you so much for your kind words of Jimmy.. We didn't know he had taken your place... His dad has been married to my Mom for 20 years.. Jimmy was my brother..We love and miss him so much..He was a great man... If you would like please email me anytime.. I would love to hear more of the story..
melmad02@yahoo.com"
Melissa Shelton of Vancleave, MS

"Friends/family: If you're on facebook, we've made a memorial page for Jimmy Shawn. It's listed under JIMMY SHAWN LEE."
Rachel Lee Jones of Lake Charles, LA

"Sgt Lee...u took my spot brother. Because of u I am alive and get to raise my kids. I owe u an eternity man! I thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. My family thanks you, my children thank you! I think about u all the time...and this weekend is going to be especially hard for me. It always is with u on my mind. We only knew each other for a few months, but I'm so greatful for the few months! God bless u and your family!! Semper fidelis brother"
SSgt Rodriguez, Gabriel of Cherry Point, NC

"Jimmy Shawn! I miss you so much! Just this past April on the 5th year since you died, I was talking to Destiny a couple of days before the actual anniversary.... she was saying how she used to be able to hear your voice in her head, calling her name out, but it was getting harder to hear and she was VERY upset. I remember that feeling of voices, and laughter, and little things you love about a person getting dim - so I advised her to watch some home videos and immerse herself with things to remember you. Well, right then and there she found a letter you'd written when you were 16-17? Hahaha, she read it on the phone, and haha - I remember that letter coming to her house in Moss Bluff, and us reading it when we were still all teenagers. Since you passed away, I'd been thinking of you so much as a HEROIC ADULT (which you were), that I'd nearly forgotten what made us so close as children. WE WERE ALL SO DORKY! :D Hahaha! You were the best, the sweetest, little dork... and so was I! And we felt a kind of alienation from peers, that made us KINDER people - and you stayed kind (I've grown kinda bitter), and you eventually went into the Marines and -became a man- and oh I had forgotten too, that this ellusive quest to "become a man" was SO IMPORTANT to you as a child. When I heard you mention it in the letter, I remembered how you used to talk about it so often. I didn't really know what that meant, or why it was so important to you - uh, being a girl, how could I! ;) But now, as an adult, I think I understand what you meant by 'becoming a man' - that you wanted to be someone strong enough to change the world, make an impact. A lot of us, when we were teenagers, had that kind of idealistic vision of the future - we'd do something important and help the world...but as people get older, you just kinda forget those dreams and get caught up in the daily struggle for survivial. But not you, you never did forget that higher purpose, that sweet, idealistic dream...you LIVED it. You did become and man, and you have changed the world. Each and every person in our entire family, and many of the men you met in the service all over the world, have been forever touched by your presence in our lives. You accomplished in just your short 26 years, what some people strive for their entire lives (and fail). I'm so grateful that you were placed in our family, to give us such an example of love, kindness, hilarious humor, someone who went out of his way to CHEER others...and someone whose great love for the people in the world, changed all of our lives. Like everyone here has said in one way or another, you're a lasting inspiration that will carry on lighting the torch in our hearts for the rest of our lives. So Jimmy, I wish I could write you back - back then when we were teenagers, and tell you that you need not have feared about becoming a man. You became the best man I've ever known in my entire life and I'll love you forever. I miss you so much, and I can't wait to see you again in heaven."
Rachel Lee Jones of Louisiana

"My dearest son, my baby boy. God it feels like just yesterday the doctor placed you in my arms and that today you died all over again. Your life and your brother Joshua's were so swift and cut short before you had even a chance to get to enjoy the life you built. We had several births and many deaths since your passing and yet the whole family feels your death as profoundly as if it were this very second and not 5 yrs ago. I feel more agonized by the day worrying that your sister will also be taken from me and it has made me closer to her than I have ever been. She too misses you more and more and we don't know how or when the pain will ever cease. She is doing okay on the outside and functioning well but I can't help but worry about her happiness and her emotional state. She is raising her 4 little ones alone now and I am scared for all the burden she now carries. I know that as close as the two of you were you are watching over her and I pray you watch her a little more right now. I think you would be very proud of how far she has come and how strong a person she has been through it all. I know I am very proud of her. I am very proud of you and Joshua too for the people you both were in the short time I got to share this life with you. The time we had was and will always be so precious my son. I love you and I miss you so very much.
Semper Fidelis,
MOM"
Rebecca Blanchard of Crossville, Illinois

"Thinking of you today pal. I can't stress how much you influenced my life as a Christian. Semper Fi, Marine."
Sgt Boyd of Oklahoma City, OK

"My Brother, It has been 5 years since we lost you and it still feels like yesterday... We love and miss you a lot.. Paw has been sick and so has mom and I know that you have been there by their side... We are so lucky to have a guardian angel as beautiful and loving as you.. We love and miss you with each day that passes..."
Melissa Shelton of Vancleave, MS

"This Easter, our family will gather to celebrate your life. It has been five years since you passed away, but we have not forgotten you. We love and miss you!"
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, Illinois

"Judy, I am so saddened to hear of Jimmys uncles passing. I knew them all so well and their families. Well Bj's the most. I am glad Jay does not have cancer. I too have had health problems. I had two mini strokes since he died and have had two heart catheters done. Just got out of the hospital last week myself. We are having a cookout on Easter to acknowledge that this is the fifth year since he passed. I am having his poem set to music which will benefit all the fallen families. and a singer friend of mine who is nationally known is gonna possibly do a benefit so we can get a monument erected in his name in MT VERNON. Now if I could only get another car. Mine finally played out and at the moment I exist on 400 a month so there is no cash to get another one. Other than that God is watching over me and all is okay. It is as it is."
Becky of crossville. il

"Hey pal. I think about you quite a bit. I was in the other helicopter that made it back to Bagram. I expected you to be right behind me. I know you're up there watching, and you're happy at the Christian that you influenced greatly. I peppered you with so many questions about Christianity there in Orgun-E, and you had plenty of answers for me. I'm sure it got tiring, but just know you influenced my life in a GREAT way forever. I miss you man."
Sgt Steven Boyd of Oklahoma City, OK

"Well, Becky for the last four years it has been the worst time in our famlies lifes.Jr has lost 3 brothers BJ,Hubert, and Bob and their will always be Jimmy. Jr has been sick for a couple of weeks thought he had cancer but the test came back today and it is not cancer the doctors will be watching out for it in the next year and see what changes it has made. It is in his lungs and we are doing okay the good lord is looking out for everyone. BJ wife die last year in March,2009, Bob die August 4, 2009, and Hubert die Sept 2, 2009, and Lillian die around Thanksgivings last year.All we can do is pray and life goes on God Bless everyone..........Judie"
Judie of Pasadena, Tx

"Madison is in a play at school Jan 19th and is going to honor her Uncle Jimmy... She never met you but knows who you are and what you mean to our family.. She is very proud to honor her Uncle Jimmy for the sacrifice he made for her and everyone else.... We love and miss you as always... Love your sister and niece."
Melissa and Madison Shelton of Vancleave, MS

"Jimmy. Its ur cuz from the lone star state. Married almost 2 years on valentines day. Wish u could have been there in the flesh. But I know u were there with us. I think about all of the times we spent together. U were an inspiration for me and a role model. I try to use all the things u taught me over the years, and keep them true to my heart. As I told u, the last time we spoke! I am still moving forward with my plans to join the MARINES. Its taking a bit longer than we had planned, but I'm not giving up. I'm going to see it through till the end. U taught me that its the way of the MARINE. Not to give up in the face of hard time, but to asess ur surrounding, make adjustments, and get the job done. That's what I've done, and that's what I will always do. I will see it through till the end, and tame the wild beast we all yurn to become. My life with god has become more of understanding what god wants, will be done. God will always be in my heart and my life. He is always there to pick u up when ur down. To lift u up on his shoulders when the waters of life get to fast to stand up in. The only Father of man kind, the Alpha and Omega. It took me a while as I was growing up to understand that, GOD dosent leave u, he's always there. I never got a chance to tell u how much u helped me to strengthen my relationship with GOD. I miss u every time I wake up, but glad ur with GOD. Personally, with everything going on in the world in the last year, I don't think it will be too much longer till he comes for the rest of us. To everyone reading this, love and believe in GOD, and get saved, and live ur life by GODs rules. I mean, he gave us life and said believe in me, and accept my son into ur life as ur lord and savior, ask him to forgive u of ur sins and he will give u everlasting life. That's all he asks of us. Accept him into ur life, and ur life will be complete. I promise it will. To me, that's what jimmy wanted for everyone. I remember that was one of the last thing we talked about before he had to leave my house the last time he came to visit. And to jimmy, thank u for being there for me, and giving me something to hold onto.U were always an inspiration to me in my life. Gave me a good foundation of qualities to build my life around. U mean the world to all of us. The pain never leaves, but its gotten easier to live with as the years go on. A little more understanding with each passing year. A little less hurt turns to love, knowing ur with the lord, in the sky above. I love you cuz! Its been a one hell of a ride so far. Do me a favor while ur up there, keep an eye out for all of us. Miss u man. Semper Fi Grunts for life! Ur cousin, Jeremy Plimpton."
Jeremy Plimpton of Port Arthur, TX U.S.A.

"Saw a documentary today Jimmy...it reminded me of you...I havent forgotten you and i know i'll see you again..."
Serina Lopez of Dallas, TX

"Jimmy,

We miss you more than ever... Yesterday, today and always, you will be in my heart and on my mind.. We love you..."
Melissa Shelton of Vancleave, MS

"Jimmy Shawn, my oh my.... How lucky I am to have known you and even more so to have had you in my life as family and as a friend. I was telling my niece just the other day all about you. I could tell that as I spoke of you she had a yearning in her little heart to know you and that she was so proud of you even though she never had the good fortune of knowing you. It had been several years before your passing that I had seen you but I know you were just the same as I left you- kind, loving and always wanting to turn someone's frown upside down. You were such a gentle spirit that when I first learned of you being in the military I was shocked! But yet at the same time I wasn't surprised for I knew you'd want nothing less than to serve your country, friends and family. I miss you and wish you were still here to grace this world with your presence but your spirit lives on in so many of us! We lost touch for a while but I know in my heart without a doubt if you were still amongst us in the flesh we'd be in touch as often as possible- which nowadays with all this internet that would probably be quite often! I wish I had the chance to know your wife better but the time I did meet her I could see how you guys were a great pair!
Jimmy Shawn, I don't know if words could ever describe the feelings that fill my heart for you as my cousin (step, but who cares?), friend, someone to look up to, and soldier that sacrificed everything for our nation.
Love you ALWAYS!!!!!"
Lyn-z of Dallas, TX

"Jimmy Shawn, I miss you so much....never have taken any of your photos down....infact, my computer crashed and I had a lot of pics your mom sent saved, so I freaked out and chased computer geeks until someone could get the info from my harddrive. 4 years, that's a long time to go without you....and I'm older than you were when you passed away, but you still remain the older, wiser figure in my heart. I know you'd be doing something to change the world right now, if you were here. But you know, you did change it - while you were here, and you keep changing it, because you affected each and everyone of us. We're all better people, and continue to strive to be so, because of having known you and your love. The world is much darker and desolate without your presence, sometimes it's hard to hold on - but you can believe we do hold on, especially to God, since faith brought you through your difficult times...it's a testament to all the people here who love you, that He will do the same for us. I miss you and love you, and I will try always to be a better person because of you."
Rachel Lee Jones of Louisiana

"Four years and it still feels the same... Miss you more now than before... Love ya..."
Madison Shelton of VANCLEAVE

"Four years later, losing you hurts just the same. Life does go on, but we remember our hero this day and always. I miss and love you, Jimmy!"
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, Illinois

"Well, Jim it's been 4 years and it still feels like yesterday............Love Always Judie"
Judie Gay of Pasadena TX

"MERRY CHRISTMAS........."
JUDIE of PASADENA TX

"My name is Teri O'Connor, from Los Angeles, California. Yesterday in the mail I recieved my hero bracelet from herobracelets.org, with James S. Lee's name on it. Years ago when I was a little girl, I had a Vietnam POW bracelet, which I cherished and always wished I could know the man I carried around with me on my wrist. I am so grateful for technology and the internet as I 'googled' my marine's name and was guided to this site.
From reading the beautiful sentiments and words about the man most of you call Jimmy, I can see that he was an incredible, brave and strong person, with a gentle soul and a lot of love in his heart.
To Jimmy's mom I say thank-you for your sacrifice. I have a 14 year old son and cannot begin to imagine losing him. I honor you and your entire family and my family is so very grateful to you all and to Sgt. James S. Lee. I will now wear my bracelet so I am always reminded of him and what he did for my family and my country. I will include him and his family in my prayers always.
Please feel free to email me anytime at terio818@gmail.com. Thank-you again."
Teri O'Connor of Los Angeles, CA USA

"I would like to share this with everyone Jim's father and I have a portrait of Jimmy hanging on our wall in the living room. For the pass couple of years everyday we come home from work the portrait is hanging crooked, I fix it, later on before we go to bed its crooked again.I often ask Jay if he thinks that Jim is doing that to let us know he's here with us...So yesterday I go to work and when I get home the first thing I see is Jim's portriat and its hanging crooked again I even have velcro on the portriat to hold it in place, And it still moves..I've decided that I will not straighten it anymore, And except the fact that Jimmy wants it thataway and leave it alone. There is not a day that goes by that you are not in our hearts and on our minds.So from this day forward I will not straighten the portriat and Your father and I will put fresh flowers on your Memorial in our front yard to honor you.He did that for you right after your death. It's beautiful like you were..And I'm honor too have you as a son. Even though you are not of my blood you are of my heart......Love You your stepmother Judie"
Judie Gay of Pasadena, Tx 77503

"Sgt. Lee... its Sgt Rod. We served together in afghanistan on his last deployment. Sometimes i blame myself for his death. my wife had our daughter while i was over there. Sgt Lee was such a good man, he volunteered to stay back so i can come home early to see my new addition... and look what happened. Im sorry man, i miss everyday. I think about you all the time. i tell my wife and famly about you all the time aswell. you were always preaching about God and telling me new and interesting stories. i remember sitting in the work center fixing a piece of gear. i asked you to tell me a story about the bible and you went on for about 2 hours. you eased my pain when i wasnt able to be there for my daughters birth. You also would come over to my side of the hooch to bring me little books of God and bibles youve read that you thought would be good for me. Im so greatful for ever meeting you. You will forever be with me man. To your mother, father, and family... he was a great Marine. defenitly one of the best Marines ive ever met. I pray to God and ask he allows you all to live peacfully and do only what Sgt Lee would have wanted... Smile and live your lives for God.

My family thanks you so much Lee...
Ill see you in Heaven bud,

Sgt Rodriguez"
Gabriel Rodriguez of FRESNO COUNTY

"Happy birthday!


Last week, Holly had twins!

Born September 11, 2008
Karson Mark Charles, 7lbs, 3oz, 20in
Kaylee Ann Marie, 7lbs, 3oz, 20in



I was talking about one of your dumb jokes the other day... about how you'd say it over and over, even though it was only half-funny the first time. You had a way of making it funny somehow!

"I need a new butt. Mine is cracked!" I rolled my eyes every time you said it, but you still managed to make me laugh.

Love and miss you :)"
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, IL

"My Dearest Son,
In five days it will be what was your birthday. As I do every year since you were a young boy, I am having a family get together for a cookout. It used be that we would give you gifts and this year it is a very special gift God just gave us that I know you would have really loved to have been here for. Your cousin Holly just gave birth to TWINS. A boy she named Carson Michael Mark, and a Girl she named Kaylee Ann Marie. Both are beautiful, healthy and weighed each 7 lbs. 3 oz. Hopefully they can have their Welcome to the family entrance that day and we can all get to hold them. Your sister told me she had had three grandbabies for me so her fourth she said is one that I can say would have been from you and Sunny if you had lived. She named him the name you wanted if you had ever had a son. He is HUNTER BLAKE. He even resembles you in action and in how you were size wise at his age. He has big beautiful blonde curls and is chubby and trying so hard to learn to walk. We just had his first Birthday on the first of this month. Dante is nine now and getting his usual straight A's in school. He is into Dinosaurs, Math, Science and Reading. He is also great at his drawing and other art. Kylee Shawn is a bright and cheerful 6 now. She is so so so adorable. She still has her beautiful dark brown lustrous curls and makes such cute expressions you just gotta squeeze and hug her. Joshua is 3 and so smart. He is much more advanced in both knowledge and speech than the other two were at his age. He is my ever present shadow. He was only a few months old when you died so I think I sort of latched onto him more to help ease the pain. Your sister is still like a lost little puppy pining for you but she does her best to keep that hidden from others. She hasn't gotten to talk to our Sunny lately as we no longer have cell phones and Sunny has a new number, but hopefully we can get in touch with her soon. We all miss her so much but you would be so very proud of how far she has come in her life now. At last report she was doing well but I don't think she has gotten over you enough to have any relationships as yet. Chucky and Lola live in Korea and are being even more spoiled and pampered than ever. I miss you son, more than anyone knows. I thought it would ease some but so far it seems to hurt worse, not less. I am sure for your Dad it hurts more too these days as your uncle died on the first anniversary of your death. My heart goes out to him and Judy. I lost their phone number and I have not talked on line with them since I no longer have my own internet, but I am sure my prayers for their pain are heard by God. Rest well Son with your brother Joshua and your other family members to pass before you. Though we are all so very sad, we all know we will one day be with you again in heaven, and in the meantime, we proudly honor your memory for how truly amazing and love filled a person you were. For the love of Christ you taught us how to open our hearts to fill, and for being such an exemplary Marine. To this day son, you are still Mt. Vernons only Hero to die for this war. My new MISSION as a MARINE MOM is to collect the funding and the permission to have a fallen Hero Monument established in your Honor. You gave your heart to our family and to Mt.Vernon, Indiana, and gave both even your very life. You deserve that Honor and I will not give up breathing until I get it done for you. You more than EARNED it. I love you my beautiful baby boy. And I thank God daily for having chosen ME to be the Mom and watch you grow and learn and teach us all about the truly awesome God you loved so much. I thank you son, for every breath you took and for every heartbeat we shared as Mother and son.

To Judy, you can reach me at 618-966-2012. Prayers, a hug, and love to you now and always."
Becky of 2080 County Road 1830 N Crossville, Il 62827

"My Dearest Son,
In five days it will be what was your birthday. As I do every year since you were a young boy, I am having a family get together for a cookout. It used be that we would give you gifts and this year it is a very special gift God just gave us that I know you would have really loved to have been here for. Your cousin Holly just gave birth to TWINS. A boy she named Carson Michael Mark, and a Girl she named Kaylee Ann Marie. Both are beautiful, healthy and weighed each 7 lbs. 3 oz. Hopefully they can have their Welcome to the family entrance that day and we can all get to hold them. Your sister told me she had had three grandbabies for me so her fourth she said is one that I can say would have been from you and Sunny if you had lived. She named him the name you wanted if you had ever had a son. He is HUNTER BLAKE. He even resembles you in action and in how you were size wise at his age. He has big beautiful blonde curls and is chubby and trying so hard to learn to walk. We just had his first Birthday on the first of this month. Dante is nine now and getting his usual straight A's in school. He is into Dinosaurs, Math, Science and Reading. He is also great at his drawing and other art. Kylee Shawn is a bright and cheerful 6 now. She is so so so adorable. She still has her beautiful dark brown lustrous curls and makes such cute expressions you just gotta squeeze and hug her. Joshua is 3 and so smart. He is much more advanced in both knowledge and speech than the other two were at his age. He is my ever present shadow. He was only a few months old when you died so I think I sort of latched onto him more to help ease the pain. Your sister is still like a lost little puppy pining for you but she does her best to keep that hidden from others. She hasn't gotten to talk to our Sunny lately as we no longer have cell phones and Sunny has a new number, but hopefully we can get in touch with her soon. We all miss her so much but you would be so very proud of how far she has come in her life now. At last report she was doing well but I don't think she has gotten over you enough to have any relationships as yet. Chucky and Lola live in Korea and are being even more spoiled and pampered than ever. I miss you son, more than anyone knows. I thought it would ease some but so far it seems to hurt worse, not less. I am sure for your Dad it hurts more too these days as your uncle died on the first anniversary of your death. My heart goes out to him and Judy. I lost their phone number and I have not talked on line with them since I no longer have my own internet, but I am sure my prayers for their pain are heard by God. Rest well Son with your brother Joshua and your other family members to pass before you. Though we are all so very sad, we all know we will one day be with you again in heaven, and in the meantime, we proudly honor your memory for how truly amazing and love filled a person you were. For the love of Christ you taught us how to open our hearts to fill, and for being such an exemplary Marine. To this day son, you are still Mt. Vernons only Hero to die for this war. My new MISSION as a MARINE MOM is to collect the funding and the permission to have a fallen Hero Monument established in your Honor. You gave your heart to our family and to Mt.Vernon, Indiana, and gave both even your very life. You deserve that Honor and I will not give up breathing until I get it done for you. You more than EARNED it. I love you my beautiful baby boy. And I thank God daily for having chosen ME to be the Mom and watch you grow and learn and teach us all about the truly awesome God you loved so much. I thank you son, for every breath you took and for every heartbeat we shared as Mother and son.

To Judy, you can reach me at 618-966-2012. Prayers, a hug, and love to you now and always."
Becky of 2080 County Road 1830 N Crossville, Il 62827

"Jimmy, its been three years and I still think about you frequently. I miss the times we had before Robert and I left and then later the conversations that you and I had while deployed. I hope someday we can finish some of those conversations we started in the shop. I still haven't had anybody try to make me play them Halo upside down. I hope next time I see you you're ready for round 2 of that one."
Chris Ramirez of Vista, Ca

"We remember you this Memorial Day 2008."
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, IL

"Did not think I would make it another year, gets harder every April 6th They say time heals all hurts but thats a lie son miss you ..............love Dad"
Dad of Pasadena Tx

"It's been three years, but we remember. We won't forget you, cousin! You are missed and loved."
Cousin Cindy Given of Olney, IL

"New Christmas Poem
>>
>> TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS,
>> HE LIVED ALL ALONE,
>> IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF
>> PLASTER AND STONE.
>>
>> I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY
>> WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE,
>> AND TO SEE JUST WHO
>> IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.
>>
>> I LOOKED ALL ABOUT,
>> A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE,
>> NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS,
>> NOT EVEN A TREE.
>>
>> NO STOCKING BY MANTLE,
>> JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND,
>> ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES
>> OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.
>>
>> WITH MEDALS AND BADGES,
>> AWARDS OF ALL KINDS,
>> A SOBER THOUGHT
>> CAME THROUGH MY MIND.
>>
>> FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT,
>> IT WAS DARK AND DREARY,
>> I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER,
>> ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.
>>
>> THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING,
>> SILENT, ALONE,
>> CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR
>> IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.
>>
>> THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE,
>> THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER,
>> NOT HOW I PICTURED
>> A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.
>>
>> WAS THIS THE HERO
>> OF WHOM I'D JUST READ?
>> CURLED UP ON A PONCHO,
>> THE FLOOR FOR A BED?
>>
>> I REALIZED THE FAMILIES
>> THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT,
>> OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS
>> WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.
>>
>> SOON ROUND THE WORLD,
>> THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY,
>> AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE
>> A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.
>>
>> THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM
>> EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR,
>> BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS,
>> LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.
>>
>> I COULDN'T HELP WONDER
>> HOW MANY LAY ALONE,
>> ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE
>> IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.
>>
>> THE VERY THOUGHT
>> BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE,
>> I DROPPED TO MY KNEES
>> AND STARTED TO CRY.
>>
>> THE SOLDIER AWAKENED
>> AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE,
>> 'SANTA DON'T CRY,
>> THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;
>>
>> I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM,
>> I DON'T ASK FOR MORE,
>> MY LIFE IS MY GOD,
>> MY! COUNTRY, MY CORPS.'
>>
>> THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER
>> AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP,
>> I COULDN'T CONTROL IT,
>> I CONTINUED TO WEEP.
>>
>> I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS,
>> SO SILENT AND STILL
>> AND WE BOTH SHIVERED
>> FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.
>>
>> I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE
>> ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT,
>> THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR
>> SO WILLING TO FIGHT.
>>
>> THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER,
>> WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE,
>> WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA,
>> IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'
>>
>> ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH,
>> AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT.
>> 'MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,!
>> AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.'
>>
>> This poem was written by a Marine.
>>
>> The following is his request. I think it is
>> reasonable.....
>> PLEASE. Would you do me the kind favor of sending this to as many
>> people as you can? Christmas will be coming soon and some credit is
>> due to our U.S. service men and women for our being able to celebrate
>> these festivities. Let's try in this small way to pay a tiny bit of
>> what we owe. Make people stop and think of our heroes, living and
>> dead, who sacrificed themselves for us. Please, do your small part
>> to plant this small seed.
>>"
Judie Gay of Pasadena Tx

"November 10, 2007
To the family of Sgt. James S. Lee:
James gave the ultimate sacrifice and will be held in the hearts of Americans forever. I cannot and will not let our fallen heroes be forgotten. My deepest sympathy to you. "Some gave all."
Peggy Childers
"Don't Let The Memory Of Them Drift Away"
www.IraqWarHeroes.org"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Happy Birthday!! We miss you love Dad and Judie"
Houston Gay of Pasadena, TX

"I miss you!"
Rachel of Lake Charles, LA

"For My Darling son Shawn, (as only I was ever allowed to call you,) We all love and miss you more than we have proper words to convey. When I was raising you, you often asked me where God was and how you could be closer to HIM. Of all the people and places and other things we shared on this earth together as Mother and son,---I am blessed beyond measure for the day you turned 5 and asked me that first time to tell you about God and His eternal love for us. You are where you always wanted to be---in the loving Grace filled arms of the God we love so very much. The same one who holds me up now and gives me hope to be with you and your brother Joshua again someday. You said in our last phonecall 5 days before you died, that when asked how you got through it all your only answer was---YOU TAKE A DEEP BREATH, TIGHTEN THE BOOT STRAPS AND CARRY ON SOLDIER TO WHEREVER GOD TAKES YOU. AND THEN AT NIGHT AS YOU SLEEP YOU ARE FILLED WITH HIS JOY. What an answer son, and what a lesson and legacy you leave behind. Until you are in my arms again--- Semper Fi son. With love from Mom
Rebecca Blanchard (Crossville, IL )
eaglezone01@yahoo.com"
Becky

"My Dear Son,

It is so hard to know today marks the second anniversary of your death. It has been so very busy and so very emotional for everyone since you died. Of course you knew Destiny had a new son on Dec. 27 2004 that you were able to see photos of. You would have just adored him. His name is Joshua Luke and he is so full of cute little antics everyday that I firmly believe He is among the reasons I have made it this past two years. He is heavily into Tootsie Rolls, Motorcycles, Tractors and learning more and more words everyday. Dante is loving School, learning more about Dinosaurs and science. He says he wants to be a Paleontologist when he grows up, or a Marine, whichever comes first and has more money for his work he says. Kylee is growing more and more beautiful as you could imagine, and steals the heart of us all with her winning little smile and her antics as well. Normally a Tom Boy, she does shall I say, have her moments of striving to be the perfect little Princess. I would never had survived without them. I must say son, that while I did love raising you and Destiny so much---this being a "GAMMY" makes me so very very happy I almost cannot even remember what it felt like to not have them in my heart. There truly is no greater feeling than the joy of being their Grandma. Unless, of course it is to know I am being blessed with yet another new Grandbaby in September. How fitting for it to arrive in what was your birth month. The names Destiny has chosen are: Boy, HUNTER BLAKE, or for a girl", TRINITY ELANA. Also since your passing our extended family has also been Blessed with the additions of Lori's baby Kayden Shawn, and Roys baby Kirsten Elisabeth. Jeran, And his brother JERRED are also both new DADDies this past year. You would be loving it I am sure, to watch them growing up so fast. Your sister and I are also both being Blessed with getting married to two men who adore and pamper us. She is marrying her first love Billy Robb in June of this year. And I am marrying a man I truly believe if given the chance, you would have chosen him For me. His name is William Ray Phillips and he is from Wichita, Ks. He is sharing this day with me and I am sure I can get through it much easier with him by my side. He helps me remember that though I still do hurt so much without you son, God really does have a perfect plan that is being carried out in all our lives and we are not ALONE. I, for one, miss you more and more as each day passes, and yet feel more peace also in knowing you are with God and ALL IS POSSIBLE and there WILL BE joy again. On April 21st, I am starting a new journey in this life as Will's Wife. Life, though still so painful at times, gets more radiant with God's Love-everyday. Sleep Well my son, and Thank God for me will ya!"
Mom of Crossville, Il

"my Dearest sons Shawn and Joshua,
Though I have stopped celebrating Christmas in a traditional way, I must say that Your sister did her best to make this day a very pleasant one for me. However, as the day wore on I felt compelled to go to the grave site and check to see that your manger scene and the two tomb scripture rocks and flags were still where I had placed them, and to say prayers for both of you and for all of us who love and miss you so much. When I got there I saw the newest grave on the same row as yours Shawn had no decoration or color and it made me feel so saddened for the person buried there, that I decided in both of your memory I will make up and deliver some flowers to leave there until the persons family can have the monument or marker pplaced on it. Though Christmas still hurts to go through because the very last thing Joshua and I shared was to create a home made garland of Popcorn and Cranberries and marshmallows together the last day we ever shared, and the past two Christmasses were without you, it was a love filled day anyway. Baby Joshy will be two the day after tomorrow. So I was very eager to see him excitedly ripping through all the wrappings to find all his fun gifts this year. However, the very first toy he opened was a monster truch that makes the same noises and songs that his rider motorcycle here does caught his eye and his heart and that was all he would open. It was so cute that he had ten or eleven other gifts but all he cared about was that truck. Dante got a Dinosaur thing with a lump of plaster that had bones encased in it he had to chisel out and put together. He loves Dinosaurs so much he was playing a trivia game on me. I only got one answer right which really made him feel good that he knows so much about them. Kylee got a castle playhouse that she and Josh both had alot of fun with.And will have evem more fun sharing in days to come. And all three kids got the promise of a new Daddy they know loves them very much, for Billy,proposed to Destiny this morning and she said Yes. They are trying to set a date but so far have only thought about a tentative March date so far at the time I left. Later I shared a supper meal with some friends down the street from my house. Their neice was also there for the day. She has severe cerebral palsy, and is partially retarded they said. Don't like that term myself, for though she can barely speak, at the end of the meal she said Love You Jesus and tried to put her hands together to pray. Though today was the first time I have met her, she would not allow anyone else to feed her and kept fussing til I offered to do it. When it was time to leave she started crying almost as heart wrenching as Joshy does when I leave him and said I love you eppy. It truly was a blessed day and a love filled one. All that was missing was the opportunity to share it with our Robert and Sunny also. But on this night I say a very Merry Christmas to them and to both of you my precious sons. At the close of this day, for me I say Thank God for all the LOVE, JOY AND PEACE in my heart. My heart is with you both today and everyday."
Mom of Crossville,IL

"Robert, thanks for finally coming through in your own time. Destiny wondered for a long time what the matter was, and I felt pretty helpless not being able to do more than listen to her. Your side helps us all know a little bit more about the person we all love and miss so much, especially around this time of year."
Cousin Cindy Given of Crossville, IL

"Yeah, Robert, like I told Sunny, the same is true for you... Jimmy Shawn was, to our family, the guy who would make us all LAUGH. Leave the party to find the one who was UNHAPPY and then cheer them up. Jim & I used to talk about what it was like being the "funny guy" and complaining that no one would notice when you were actually sad. But you, Robert, were one of the people who actually KEPT JIMMY HAPPY!!! You were the one HE turned to to make HIM smile. Time and time again. You kept the funny bone in tip top shape. And I know, Jim loved you, and you loved him. So you're right, his death HAS means something... want to live up to the standard he set for me. Each person takes their journey differently, but I'll take my whole life to come to the place that Jim was in a few months... I think our lives will constantly be STRUGGLING to attain that higher place. I remember a conversation I had with Jim, where he said, "I don't ever want to be CONTENT with my life. When you are content, you relax and put your feet up. I want to always feel unsatisfied with myself, so that I will always be changing and working on becoming better. That's life. Being content is not life." So, it's normal to feel you are falling short of the mark, Jim would understand that too. :) I'm sorry you feel so sad, and I'm glad you reached out. Sometimes, sharing your pain can lighten it.
You'll be in my prayers this Christmas.
And, Jimmy Shawn.... I MISS YOU!!!!!!!!"
Rachel of Louisiana

"Robert,
I am so glad that you finally spoke out. I have missed you so much and all this time I have known that you were still devistated.I hoped that you'd call me.Because like we talked about before you know more than ANYONE exactly how I feel because he was your brother every bit as much as he was mine.And I hoped that if either of us needed a hand through some tears we could be there for each other, and understand like no other what the other was feeling.I have told you before that YOU ARE my brother and that still does and always will remain the truth in my heart.Family isn't just grown through the bond of marriage and children. Family is also created by choice, love,and God. God did put you and Jim together, we all know that is truth. And that christmas was for a reason. If you remember you had planned to go home for Christmas and had even drove part of the way there. But due to your car acting up you had to turn around at the last minute. I knew when I met you the first minute that you were upset that you didn't have your family for Christmas. But you did! You just didn't know it yet, God gave each of us all an addition to what we call family that Christmas. And he made sure it was unforgetable with a Christmas dinner of Tuna and Hamburger helper.ONE of a kind Christmas dinner, and the best one I ever had. I stayed an extra few weeks and during that time, the two of us talked alot... Do you remember? You know for the first year that I didn't hear from you I thought that you were mad at me from when we were in Ga. and you yelled at me in the Durango.By the was you were right. Sunny finally told me that wasn't the case. I understand why you pulled away,,, I have too in ALOT of ways.But please know that when you are ready I am waiting.I heard the new baby was a girl.Congratulations!!!!! I hope to see some pictures of all of you sometime.
Before I end this I need to say something about your letter. When you said you keep falling short...You ONLY fall short in your own eyes. Jim was very proud of the Daddy you are the marine you were and the friend that you were to him and the fact that even though me and mom can be a little crazy sometimes you accepted and loved us as family anyway. Robert you are an exceptional man, and you should be proud of the things you've accomplished(Jim was and we are), and not feel like your falling short.But I understand that feeling. I feel the same way. Falling short, feeling guilty,lost(especially in faith)and saddness are all feelings that moved into my heart and mind on April 6,and I'm not sure those feelings will ever escape. I will end this letter now but please know Robert, you are loved in our family and we will be waiting for the day you feel able to talk to us. We miss you. If you call mom's you can get my new cell phone number.I have so much more to tell you there has been many many changes in my life since we last talked,and I'm sure the same is true for you.I hope we can catch up sometime soon. I love you my brothers,and I miss you both so very deeply."
Destiny Dowden of Mt. Vernon In.

"Dearest Robert, Frances, Ana and baby. Please know how much your sister and I and the kids miss all of you each and every day. We know just how much true BROTHER love and Heart is in you now and always for Jimmy Shawn. And can only continue to pray that your sadness be if not lifted, at least be eased in order for you to carry on in LIVING a full, complete and happy life knowing Just how very much you meant to him, and have meant to Destiny and I since the first Christmas we met you. Remember since Jimmy was always a LAST MINUTE GUY he said we could wait til Christmas eve to go shopping for our Christmas meal and since we did, we had a very non traditional, thrown together meal that was chock full of love, and laughter and Dante's cute antics. BEST CHRISTMAS I EVER DID HAVE. Do you remember that INFLATABLE couch that when I sat down with a full can of pepsi in hand I suddenly lost my grip on it and spread fizzed pepsi all across the room and hit Jimmy Shawn, shocking him out of his staring at the TV. Do you also remember Destiny playing Santa Claus that same night for all of us. I think about when Ana and Kylee met the first day when you came to Mt. Vernon and how close they resemble each other in looks and in action. I hope someday they can grow to be as TIGHT as you and Jimmy Shawn were. The love the two of you shared, and helped teach all of us about is what helps us even now. In that last phone call he and I shared five days before his death, I asked him how he greeted the morning. He said, " thats the easiest question anyone has ever asked me Mom. His answer was,"I WAKE UP, SAY A PRAYER, TAKE A DEEP BREATH, TIGHTEN THE BOOTSTRAPS,AND I CARRY ON SOLDIER. AND AT THE END OF MY DAY I CAN GO TO SLEEP WITH JOY IN MY HEART AND A SMILE ON MY FACE, FOR I KNOW I FOLLOWED MY GOD."
At his funeral, as we all watched him be lowered into the ground, I promised him I would adopt that same life philosophy. That NO Matter What, I would say my prayers, take a deep breath and CARRY ON as my hero, my son, my SOLDIER did so diligently and gallantly. And guess what Robert, My precious second son Robert---I found out I am HUMAN, and like I know you still do, I CRY, and I feel I will always FALL SHORT of being the person I always wished I could be for my kids and grandkids. I cry for knowing I cannot hold him in my arms and hear his voice or his laughter. I cannot hold the babies I prayed he and Sunny would have had once he came home, I cry that the kids will never fully know him or the immense love he had for them. And just like you, I have done my best to shut myself off from ever having to lose anyone else I love so much as I love him, his brother Josh that died before him, or my Godparents I lost this past year within two weeks of each other. But we cannot do that to ourselves, to our families, to our precious Sunny and Destiny---or to HIS MEMORY. Cause by shutting out pain son, we are also shutting out the hope or ability for the JOY that JIMMY and GOD want for each of us that they taught us all along. Love him, cry for the loss of him beside us where we could hug and hold him and hear his dreams and laughter and his yelling at his babies Chucky the PORK CHOP thief, or LolA THE PRINCESS PUP...and then TIGHTEN THOSE BOOTSTRAPS OF HIS PRECIOUS BROTHER LOVE AND OUR LOVE FOR YOU AROUND YOUR HEART AND KNOW ALL IS AS GOD INTENDED ALL ALONG. JIMMY IS WITH THE VERY GOD HE LIVED FOR AND FOLLOWED AND TAUGHT ABOUT AND YEARNED FOR SINCE HIS FIRST KICK IN MY BELLY. HE IS OKAY NOW SON. When you are able son, call me. 618-966-2304 home, or 812-319-3725, cell. Destiny and I love and have missed you dearly son. And please stop burdening your heart with any blame or any more wishes that you had been taken instead for his greatest wish of all is that you and Frances and Ana, and the new baby are together and happy. And that is our wish for all of you as well."
MOM Becky of Crossville, Ill.

"Oh, Robert he loved you too and talked about you all the time...April 6th,2005 It will always be with Houston and me.Their's not a day that goes by That we don't think about Jimmy and Sunny. We still have Jimmy and Sunnys pictures hanging where they are the first thing we see in the morning and the last thing at night.Take Care Of you and your family.We'll see Jimmy again."
Judie Gay of Pasadena Tx

"HI MY NAME IS ROBERT ROSARIO JR. FORMER SERGEANT U.S. MARINE CORPS. I SERVED WITH JIMMY FOR THE BETTER PART OF OUR EIGHT YEARS IN THE CORPS. I TRULY BELIEVE THAT GOD HAD INTENDED FOR US TO MEET ONLY BECAUSE OF CERTAIN EVENTS THAT TOOK PLACE IN BOTH OF OUR LIVES EVEN BEFORE WE JOINED. I PERSONALLY HAD PLANS TO GO IN THE CORPS HALF WAY INTO MY SENIOR YEAR OF HIGH SCHOOL BY GRADUATING EARLY; JIMMY HAD PLANNED TO GO BY THE END OF THE SUMMER. I FOUND OUT I COULDN'T GRADUATE EARLY SO ENDED UP GOING JUNE 3RD 1997, JIMMY RECIEVED A CALL FROM HIS RECRUITER TELLING HIM HE HAD AN OPEN SPOT TO GO EARLY AND HE TOOK IT IN JUNE 3RD 1997.
ALTHOUGH WE DID NOT MEET IN BOOT CAMP WE DID MEET IN NORTH CAROLINA DURING THE FOLLOWING PHASE OF OUR TRAINNING. FROM THEN WE FORMED A BOND THAT COULD NEVER BE BROKEN. AFTER THOSE TWO WEEKS WE WERE TRANSFERED TO PENSACOLA FLORIDA TO START TRAINNING FOR WHAT OUR JOBS WOULD BE IN THE CORPS. ONCE AGAIN SOMEWHAT SEPARATED, WE WERE IN DIFFERENT CLASSES; WE STILL HUNG OUT AND EVEN GOT OUR FIRST TATTOOS THE SAME WEEK. HE GOT THE KANJI CHARACTER FOR DESTINY, ALWAYS STAYING TRUE TO HIS FAMILY. A FEW HAIRCUTS LATER WE GOT SENT TO NORTH CAROLINA AGAIN TO FINISH THE LAST PHASE OF OUR M.O.S. TRAINING. AFTER THOSE THREE MONTHS ALL OF US WHO HAD PUT IN FOR ORDERS OVERSEAS GOT OUR WISHES. ALTHOUGH WE NEVER THOUGHT IT WOULD BE TO THE SAME PLACE. THAT'S WHEN JIMMY, JOSH LAMBERT, EDDIE BENTLEY, ANDREW KINNEY AND I GOT ORDERS TO POHANG, SOUTH KOREA. THE STORIES ONLY BEGIN HERE.
BEING THE TIGHT GROUP WE WERE, WE ALWAYS HUNG OUT NOT TO MENTION THAT THE CONDITIONS WE LIVED IN DIDN'T REALLY ALLOW US TO DO OTHERWISE, I MEAN WE WORKED, ATE, WENT OUT, STAYED IN THE SAME BARRACKS EVERYTHING TOGETHER. IT ONLY ALLOWED FOR A STRONGER BOND BETWEEN ALL OF US. WE WOULD HAVE EACHOTHERS BACK AT ANYTIME. LOL, LIKE THE TIME JIMMY GOT DETAINED FOR PUNCHING A TAXI, HEAR ME OUT FIRST, THE CAB LITERALLY HIT JOSH ALMOST TAKING HIM DOWN AND JIMMY PUNCHED THE CAR, NOT THE CABBIE, THE CAR!!! BENTLEY AND A GROUP OF US WENT TO BAIL HIM OUT... IT WAS ONLY 100 DOLLARS; WE EACH CARRIED THAT JUST FOR PARTYING ON THE WEEKENDS SO THAT WAS NO PROBLEM.
I REMEMBER JIMMY DIDN'T HAVE MUCH EXPERIENCE DRIVING WHEN HE WENT IN THE SERVICE SO IT WAS ALWAYS FUNNY TO SEE HIM DRIVE. THERE WERE SO MANY MEMORIES THAT WERE SHARED THAT EVERYTHING I SEE NOWDAYS REMINDS ME OF HIM. I REMEMBER ALL OF US DISCUSSING WHETHER WE WERE GOING TO STAY IN KOREA A SECOND YEAR AND, YOU GUESSED IT WE DID STAY AND WE HAD SOME OF THE BEST TIMES. BUT THEN IT CAME TIME FOR ORDERS AGAIN AND THE QUESTION CAME UP AGAIN, DO WE STAY OR GO? WELL SOME STAYED LIKE BENTLEY AND THEN DISAPPEARED, HAVEN'T HEARD FROM HIM IN YEARS, AND JOSH LITERALLY STAYED, GOT OUT OF THE CORPS AND NOW LIVES HAPPILY AS A KOREAN CITIZEN. KINNEY WENT TO THE WEST COAST AND LAST I HEARD FROM HIM WAS FOR JIMMY'S FUNERAL. AS FOR JIMMY AND I, WELL WE CAME HOME. I REMEMBER HE HAD PUT IN FOR ORDERS IN TEXAS TO BE CLOSER TO HIS DAD AND GET TO NOW HIM BETTER, ALTHOUGH HE DID NOT GET HIS WISH.
I GOT ORDERS TO MARIETTA GA. ONLY TO BE STATIONED THERE WITH NONE OTHER THAN, YEP, JIMMY. WHICH GOES BACK TO WHAT I SAID BEFORE ABOUT GOD INTENDING FOR US TO BE CLOSE FRIENDS. WE WERE NOT ALONE, JIMMY AND SUNNY HAD GOTTEN MARRIED AND WE ALSO MET UP WITH A FEW OTHER PEOPLE WE HAD BEEN STATIONED WITH BEFORE, SO THE BUTTERFLIES THAT PEOPLE GET GOING TO A NEW PLACE, MEETING NEW PEOPLE AND ALL THAT STUFF WERE NOT AS BAD BECAUSE WE HAD EACH OTHER. I STAYED ON BASE FOR A WEEK WHEN JIMMY AND SUNNY HAD GOTTEN AN APARTMENT AND I MOVED IN, CALL IT SEPARATION ANXIETY OR WHATEVER YOU WILL BUT THAT'S WHAT HAPPENNED.
JIMMY AND I WERE LUCKY, THE SHOP WE WENT TO WAS AWESOME THE OTHER MARINES AND SAILORS WERE COOL AND DEPLOYMENTS WERE COMING OUR WAY. THE FIRST ONE WAS HAWAII, 3 WEEKS, A FEW BOMBS TO BUILD, AND A LOT OF FUN TO BE HAD. I REMEMBER OUR FIRST AND ONLY CAX, JIMMY GOT A FARMERS TAN THAT COULD BE RECOGNIZED IN THE DISTANCE TO THE POINT THAT PEOPLE THOUGHT HE HAD A WHITE SHIRT ON, UNTIL THEY LOOKED UP CLOSE. ALWAYS TOGETHER,
PEOPLE COULDN'T SEE ONE WITHOUT THE OTHER. IF I WAS SOMEWHERE AND JIMMY WASN'T THE QUESTION WAS "WHERE'S YOUR BROTHER?". IT WAS FUNNY BECAUSE WHEN I WOULD GO TO FLORIDA TO VISIT ON THE DAY I WAS SUPPOSED TO COME BACK HE WOULD LEAVE A MESSAGE SINGING "I WISH YOU WERE HERE" BY INCUBUS AND I WOULD CALL HIM BACK AND LEAVE A MESSEGE SINGING "MAMA I'M COMING HOME" BY OZZY. ONE TIME I WAS ON MY WAY TO FLORIDA AND STOPPED AT A REST STOP. WELL LONG STORY SHORT, I FLUSHED MY KEYS DOWN THE TOILET, NO KIDDING!!! THE ONLY SPARES WERE IN GA. SO HE WOKE UP THE NEXT DAY TO DRIVE 8 HOURS AND BRING ME THE KEYS. I HAVE NEVER MET ANYBODY THAT WOULD DO THAT WITHOUT COMPLAINT LIKE HE DID.
I REMEMBER THE FIRST TIME I MET BECKY AND DESTINY IT WAS CHRISTMAS OF 2000 AND I WAS SUPPOSED TO GO TO FL. BUT MY CAR BROKE DOWN. NEEDLESS TO SAY IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST CHRISTMAS I SPENT AWAY FROM HOME. FOR THE LONGEST TIME I REMEMBER HIM BEING SPIRITUALLY ANGRY TO THE POINT THAT HE WOULD CLAIM THAT HE WAS AGNOSTIC, AND I WOULD TALK TO HIM BECAUSE I KNOW WHERE HE CAME FROM I KNEW THAT WHEN HE WAS YOUNGER HE WOULD GO TO CHURCH AND NOT BECAUSE BECKY MADE HIM BUT BECAUSE HE WANTED TO, BUT LIKE MOST OF US HE HAD A MOMENT OF WEAKNESS AND STRAYED, BUT NOT FOR LONG. ONE TIME HE CAME HOME AFTER A 2 WEEK DEPLOYMENT AND TOLD ME HE HAD QUIT SMOKING, WHICH WAS HIS BIGGEST BATTLE, AND I OF COURSE DIDNíT BELIEVE HIM UNTIL HE TOLD ME WHAT HAPPENED. YOU KNOW THE CLASSIC ďI WAS FLIPPING THRU THE CHANNELS AND CAME ACROSS A TELEVISED SERVICEĒ. WELL APPARENTLY AT THAT TIME HIS NECK AND BACK WAS HURTING HIM AND HE WASNíT FEELING WELL, AND THE PREACHER CALLED OUT TO HIM TELLING HIM EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS GOING TRHU, AND FROM THEN ON I WITNESSED A CHANGED MAN. HE CAME HOME AND STARTED STUDYING THE BIBLE TALKING TO PEOPLE ABOUT IT. HE WOULD ASK MY WIFE TO CALL HER DAD AND ASK HIM QUESTIONS ABOUT THE BIBLE, HEíS A PREACHER, AND WE ALL SAW THE CHANGE. MATT GIRARDIN, WHO POSTED A COMMENT EARLIER IN THIS PAGE, KNOWS WHAT IíM TALKING ABOUT. FUNNY THING IS THAT HE DIDNíT TRY TO FORCE IT ON PEOPLE EITHER, HE HAD A WAY TO WORK IT IN CONVERSATIONS AND RELATED TO OTHER THINGS WERE HE KNEW HE WAS PLANTING THE SEED BUT NEVER LED THE PERSON TO BELIEVE HE WAS ďCONDEMEDĒ UNLESS THEY TURNED TO GOD. HE HAD A GIFT AND I KNOW HE GOT TO A FEW PEOPLE BEFORE HE LEFT. I ALWAYS SAID THAT BETWEEN HIM AND MY FATHER IN LAW, THEY WERE GOING TO BE MY SPIRITUAL GUIDES, SO THAT I CAN COME BACK TO BE A BETTER PERSON, SPIRITUALLY, AND WHEN JIMMY LEFTÖ I WANTED TO GO TOO!!!!! I MISS HIM LIKE CRAZY!!!
APRIL 6TH 2005 AT ABOUT 6 IN THE EVENING I GOT A CALL FROM THE SHOP IN GEORGIA, WHEN THEY TOLD ME WHAT HAPPENED MY HEART STOPPED BEATTING FOR A SECOND AND I COULDNíT BELIEVE ITÖ I STARTED CRYING JUST LIKE I AM RIGHT NOW AND SO DID THE PERSON IN THE LINE, THAT WAS THE FIRST TIME IíVE WITNESS A MARINE CRY AND IT WASNíT ME, THATíS HOW MUCH WE ALL LOVED HIM. IT WASNíT OFFICIAL YET BUT WHEN THE MARINES WALKED UP TO BECKYíS DOOR AND THEY CALLED ME TO LET ME KNOW, I KNEW THEN IT WAS OFFICIAL. ITíS BEEN REALLY HARD FOR ME TO LET GO BECAUSE OF A TRUTH THAT NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW. YOU SEE WHEN THE WORD GOT OUT THAT WE WERE GOING TO AFGHANISTAN EVERY SERGEANT AND ABOVE VOLUNTEERED, HANDS AND COMBAT BOOTS IN THE AIR. WE WERE TOLD THE IT WOULD BE 2 TO 3 WAVES GOING AND EVERYONE SHOULD GET A CHANCE TO BE A PART OF THIS. WHEN THE FIRST LIST OF MARINES WAS MADE, I WAS IN IT BUT GOT BUMPED OFF BECAUSE I WAS GOING ON LEAVE AND THERE WAS A CHANCE THAT THE FIRST GROUP MIGHT LEAVE EARLY. WHEN IT CAME TIME FOR THE SECOND GROUP EVERYONE THAT WAS IN IT WAS SET IN STONE EXCEPT FOR JIMMY AND I. LITTLE DID WE KNOW THAT ALL THESE YEARS OF BEING TOGETHER IN TRAINING AND GOING TO THE SAME DEPLOYMENTS HAVING THE SAME QUALIFICATIONS WOULD PUT US IN A SPOT WERE ONE WOULD HAVE TO BE PICKED OVER THE OTHER, WE ALWAYS THOUGH THAT AS LONG AS WE KNEW THE SAME THINGS AND HAD THE SAME QUALIFICATIONS WE WOULD ALWAYS GO TO THE SAME PLACES, BUT THIS TIME ONE OF US HAD TO STAY BEHIND AND TAKE CARE OF THE SHOP WHILE THE OTHER WENT TO AFGHANISTAN. A COIN WAS FLIPPED AND HE GOT THE SPOT TO GO BEFORE ME. JUST LIKE JIMMY TO OPEN HIS MOUTH HE MENTIONED THE FACT THAT I WAS GETTING OUT OF THE MARINES BEFORE HE WAS, DUE TO DIFFERENT REENLISMENT CONTRACTS, AND I MIGHT NOT GET A CHANCE TO GO, AND THAT BESIDES HE DIDNíT KNOW 100% THAT HE WAS GETTING OUT. ALTHOUGH HE DID WANT TO GET OUT AND GO TO TEXAS TO BE WITH HIS DAD AND GO TO SCHOOL THE DECISION WASNíT MADE AT THAT TIME. I WAS ASKED TO GO IN HIS PLACE AND HE WOULD TAKE THE NEXT SPOT FOR THE LAST CREW GOING. I TOLD JIMMY TO MAKE THE DECISION HIMSELF ONLY BECAUSE IT WAS HIS SPOT AND BEING THE WAY HE WAS, HE GAVE ME THE CHANCE TO GO FIRST. AND THATíS WHY I HURT THE WAY I DO TODAY BECAUSE EVEN THOUGH I KNOW FROM THE BOTTOM OF MY HEART THAT GOD INTENDED FOR ALL OF THIS TO HAPPEN, IN MY HEAD THERE IS STILL THE THOUGHT THE MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, IF HE WOULDíVE GONE FIRST, HE WOULD STILL BE HERE. IT HURTS BECAUSE I KNOW HIS DESIRE TO BECOME CLOSER TO GOD HERE ON EARTH. IT HURTS BECAUSE I FEEL LIKE I OWE IT TO HIM TO TRY TO BECOME A BETTER MAN, FATHER, A BETTER CHRISTIAN AND YET I ALWAYS COME UP SHORT. AND THEN SOMETIMES I GET MAD BECAUSE I ALWAYS THOUGHT HE WAS GOING TO BE HERE TO HELP ME SPIRITUALLY AND HEíS NOT. EVER SINCE I LOST MY BROTHER AND BEST FRIEND IíVE BEEN A WRECK EMOTIONALLY. NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOWS THIS ESPECIALLY BECKY AND DESTINY BECAUSE I DIDNíT KNOW HOW THEY WOULD TAKE IT. IíM SO SORRY FOR NOT BEING THERE LIKE I PROMISED, BUT EMOTIONALLY ITíS BEEN REALLY HARD, ITíS GOING ON 2 YEARS AND I STILL CRY EVERY NOW AND THEN, I HARDLY ANSWER PEOPLES PHONE CALLS BECAUSE OF THE FEAR THAT THEY WOULD TELL ME THAT SOMEONE ELSE IS GONE. JIMMY WAS A GREAT MAN AND FRIEND; I TRULY BELIEVE THAT NO ONE COULD BE A BETTER SON OR BROTHER TO BECKY AND DESTINYÖ
JUST LIKE HE TOOK TO THE GRAVE SOME OF MY DEEPEST SECRETS, IíLL TAKE SOME OF HIS SECRETS TO MY GRAVE, BUT THIS I CAN SAY TO EVERYONE THAT KNOW HIM AND I ONLY SAY THIS BECAUSE SPENDING WITH HIM ALMOST EVERY DAY OF HIS LAST EIGHT YEARS, I KNOW THIS FOR A FACT AND THAT IS THAT HE LOVED HIS MOTHER AND SISTER, CHERISHED HIS NEPHEWS AND NIECES AND MY DAUGHTER ANA, HE CHANGED HIS NAME BECAUSE AT THAT TIME HE FELT HE HAD TO DUE TO HIS STRANGED RELATIONSHIP ALTHOUGH LATER REGRETED WHY HE MADE THE DECISION BUT NOT THE CHANGE OF NAMES. HOUSTON, JIMMY LOVED YOU AND WANTED TO GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER, HE EVEN MENTIONED ONCE OR TWICE THAT IT WOULDíVE BEEN COOL TO STAY WITH YOU AND WORK FOR YOU, ANYTHING TO GET TO KNOW YOU BETTER. TO HIS UNCLES, ESPECIALLY ONE, THANK YOU FOR HELPING RAISE A ROLE MODEL AND TEACHING HIM TO BE THE MAN HE WAS. ONE LAST THING, TO ANYONE WHO READS THIS UNDERSTAND THIS, AND I SAY THIS BECAUSE WE BOTH SHARED THE SAME FEELINGS ABOUT THE MILITARY AND THE PRIDE OF BEING A MARINE, WE NEVER BELIEVED IN DIEYING FOR THIS COUNTRY BUT WE DID BELIEVE IN DOING EVERYTHING POSSIBLE, EVEN TO PUT OUR LIVES ON THE LINE SO THAT OUR FELLOW MARINES COULD MAKE IT HOME SAFE AND IF I WAS TOLD CORRECT HE WAS THE LAST MARINE FROM OUR COMAND TO LEAVE THAT FORWARD BASE. HE GAVE THE WORD THAT HE WOULD MAKE SURE EVERYONE MADE IT BACK EVEN IF IT MEANT THAT HE WOULDNíT.
EVERYTHING I WROTE HERE CAME FROM THE HEART; I JUST HOPE THAT EVERYONE CAN UNDERSTAND WHERE I COME FROM AND HOW MUCH I LOVED HIM AS A BROTHER AND MY BEST FRIEND. I MISS HIM A LOT AS IíM SURE ALL OF YOU DO TOO!!

MISS YOU MAN!! SEE YOU WHEN I GET THERE!!!!"
ROBERT of KISSIMMEE, FL.

"Happy Birthday! Love and Miss you"
Judie of Pasadena Tx

"Happy Birthday! We love and miss you very, very much."
Cousin Cindy Given of Crossville, Illinois

"Has anyone heard from Sunny? Please have her call me at 713-473-2426.I need to know if she is doing okay.Thanks Judie Gay"
Judie Gay of Pasadena, Tx

"Happy Birthday Son, Monday will be your Birthday wish you were here so we could celebrate.But thats not to be.Think about you everyday.Judie and I talk about you all the time.We miss you AND Sunny so much.........Love Dad"
Houston Gay of PASADENA ,TX

"It is September 12th of 2006 and I am reminded of all of our fallen soldiers and there families who have shed a tear over the years and events that have taken place on september 11th. But one thought comes to mind, that there are people who have given there lifes to protect our country from acts of hatred and stupidity, that were bestowed on this wonderful land of freedom and peace that horrible day. There stories are not herd, just told. I am Jimmy Shawns cousin from Texas that loved him very deeply, and it hurts to know that our country is not doing every thing possible to irradicate this problem.Even when he was out there being every thing he could be. He was a very big role model in my life and even thought he was here for a short time, he changed a part of the world with his touch. He meant alot to every body, and the things that he did while he was here, were not in vain. They might seem small to some, but to me, they were as big as the sky is long. I am greatful that I have had the chance to be blessed with his presence and learn from what he has done in his life. So, to anybody who has had a bad day, think about how he made you feel when you were down and out and he helped to lift you up. Just be all that you can be, in everything you do. (To Jimmy Shawn Lee.) I love you and you will never be forgotten. Semper Fi "Hooooowah""
Jeremy Plimpton of Port Arthur TEXAS United States of America

"To all the Soldiers who has died for us.

Your alarm goes off, you hit the snooze and sleep for another 10 minutes.

He stays up for days on end.
_________________________

You take a warm shower to help you wake up.

He goes days or weeks without running water.
__________________________

You complain of a "headache", and call in sick.

He gets shot at as others are hit, and keeps moving forward.
__________________________

You put on your anti war/don't support the troops shirt, and go meet up with your friends.

He still fights for your right to wear that shirt.
__________________________

You make sure you're cell phone is in your pocket.

He clutches the cross hanging on his chain next to his dog tags.
__________________________

You talk trash about your "buddies" that aren't with you.

He knows he may not see some of his buddies again.
__________________________

You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls.

He walks the streets, searching for insurgents and terrorists.
__________________________

You complain about how hot it is.

He wears his heavy gear, not daring to take off his helmet to wipe his brow.
__________________________

You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong.

He doesn't get to eat today.
__________________________

Your maid makes your bed and washes your clothes.

He wears the same things for weeks, but makes sure his weapons are clean.
__________________________

You go to the mall and get your hair redone.

He doesn't have time to brush his teeth today.
__________________________

You're angry because your class ran 5 minutes over.

He's told he will be held over an extra 2 months.
__________________________

You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight.

He waits for the mail to see if there is a letter from home.
__________________________

You hug and kiss your girlfriend, like you do everyday.

He holds his letter close and smells his love's perfume.
__________________________

You roll your eyes as a baby cries.

He gets a letter with pictures of his new child, and wonders if they'll ever meet
__________________________

You criticize your government, and say that war never solves anything.

He sees the innocent tortured and killed by their own people and
remembers why he is fighting.
__________________________

You hear the jokes about the war, and make fun of men like him.

He hears the gunfire, bombs and screams of the wounded.
__________________________

You see only what the media wants you to see.

He sees the broken bodies lying around him.
__________________________

You are asked to go to the store by your parents. You don't.

He does exactly what he is told.
__________________________

You stay at home and watch TV.

He takes whatever time he is given to call, write home, sleep, and eat.
__________________________

You crawl into your soft bed, with down pillows, and get comfortable.

He crawls under a tank for shade and a 5 minute nap, only to be woken by gunfire.
__________________________

You sit there and judge him, saying the world is probably a worse place because of men like him.

If only there were more men like him!
__________________________

If you support your troops, re-send this to everyone you know,

If it gets to another veteran who hasn't received it yet, it will bring
back memories.

Only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you,
Jesus Christ and the American G. I.
One died for your soul, the other for your freedom...



Thank you
Jimmy Shaun and Robert/SKI..."
Judie Gay of Pasadena TX

"Hi Jimmy Shawn!
It's memorial day, but I certainly don't need that day to remind me of you. I keep your picture where I can see it everyday. The one we took right before you left the last time. I can't believe it. I remember I said, "Haha! Our family is so over-dramatic, of course you'll come back, don't be worried." So then, when you left, I gave you a little "see you later" hug, like it was so non-important, that you were just venturing off to the gas station. You know, instead of clinging to you for dear life, like I do in my dreams. Well, it's so sad here on earth without you. You were such a bright spot that when things got dim, just thinking about you and what you would say would make me feel okay. And I still trick myself into saying what I think you would say... and I know you really do get to watch our lives (but not ALL of the parts) Hee hee! I sure wish you were here. Things are not as funny, and life itself... God, it just isn't as fulfilling or happy. Sorry, depressed... but JIM, how could I not be, with this that has happened to you!
I MISS YOU! AND I LOVE YOU!
Hope you'll visit in a dream."
Rachel of Louisiana

"James,
I would like to say thank you to you and the other men and women who were on that Chinook with you for your service and sacrifice for our Country. And to your family, I wish to extend my deepest sympathy.

Semper Fi Devil Dog!"

"Dear Becky & Destiny:
Destiny we were searching for you when came across the news about Boe, your dad and I (your auntTanya) are very sad and heart broken. Becki, I know you have been through a great deal in your life, I am very sorry. Destiny please know that we love and miss you please contact us at (812)985-5613 or your dad's cell phone (270)407-8387 or email at AL3@evansville.net.
Love you Aunt Tanya & Dad."
Tanya Schmitz of Wadesville, In 47638

"To the family of:James S. Lee I am so sorry for the loss of your love one. My heart cries out for you in your grief and you have my thoughts and prayers. He died a hero defending freedom. May you have the peace and understanding that only comes from God. Prayerfully we will all meet in Heaven one day where we will rest in the arms of Jesus. If you need prayer or need someone to talk to, please call or write my pastor: Rev. John Pearrell 11677 Brown Bridge Rd., Covington, GA 30016. (770)787-1015. Your friend in Jesus Christ, Polly Ballew Covington,Ga"

"My Dearest Son,
God How I missed you today. Destiny and Jeff and the babies were here for the day. They were trying to fix a few things for me and we had a great family cookout. I had bought the kids a small pool a few days ago and today they got to get in it for the first time. It was the baby's first time in any pool and he was NOT liking it. The water was only at 72 and he was not into being splashed so he dove out face first and landed in the dirt. Trooper that he is, he did not cry though. Instead, he kept walking up to it and splashing in it , then running off getting on his motorcycle and drivin off again. Then when Dante and Bryce got too cold they got out and created a mud pool in which they got totally covered in mud and then doused poor frozen Cindy Annie also in specs of mud. Then here comes Destiny with the calming baby wash soap and proceeded to give each of the kids a bath in the pool. A great time was had by all and the more fun we have, the more I seem to miss that you can't be here and seeing how much more grown Dante is . Or how much more absolutely beautiful Kylee is. And our precious little funny guy Joshy. He says an absolute and resounding NO< NO< NO to anything he is asked, and then laughs that loveable little laugh. You missed a true Gem of precious when you did not get to meet him. He definitely got your joking and playful manner. I do know God is with me and thank God He is. Above all else son, I thank you so so much for leading me back to God. Rest well my son. I love you and miss you more each day. Mom"
Rebecca Blanchard of Crossville, Il

"We missed you today; I just wanted you to know that... especially when we watched home movies. Your sis made lasagna, I made pasta salad, and Holly made brownies. The kids danced around until they wore themselves out! Miss & love you!"
Cousin Cindy Given of Crossville, IL

"I never had the privilege of meeing Jimmy, but I have heard many great things about him. Such wonderful things, in fact, I have come to admire and respect him tremendously.
My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones on this anniversary.
"Greater love than this no man hath than to lay down his life for his friends.""
Friend of Rachel of Lake Charles, LA

"Dearest Jimmy Shawn

JIMMMY!!!!!!!!!!

It is too terrible. The year deadline is approaching and I can't believe I won't ever see you again. You know, I will always believe in Heaven, because of you. You know how it is, in your mind, you think that when you are old certain people will be there. Especially me, because I was an only child... I just had visions of not being alone when I was old, because I would certainly live by you. We were on the same wavelength. You were the only person I could *really* converse with and not be constantly on guard about what the other person thought, or whether I had to impress them, was I being funny enough, did I sound smart enough, none of that mattered when I talked to you. And how you made God sound so approachable to me. TO ME! Jim, you remember when I spent Christmas with you in Atlanta, and you were all kind of jaded and kind of adopting this humanistic, moralistic view, which was so liberal and excluding God, because Christian theology (we said) excluded to many people? When you and I had those conversations, I felt kinda sad for you, in your heart, because I knew when we were kids we were both so close to God, and as an adult you had this kind of, Jaded, view. And then, when Sunny went back to Korea for the visit, and Robert went to Afghan before you, and you were left alone, you started going back to church and getting really deeply involved and it brough back your passion and your love, and you were so ON FIRE... it touched even me. I say even me, Jim, because it's like I am in the place, the jaded place, that you were in when I visited you back then. I think you were my age, the age I am right now, when you felt that way. And I miss you so much, and when I talked to you, I felt like you would be the one to pull me back into the clouds, pull me back onto the right path... not by pressure or anything, but because your light was so bright, it was attractive to me, and Jim - I miss everything about you. You were such a wonderful guy, and I know I told you that I always judge my boyfriends by how they measure up to your personality, and that's the truth. And the other truth is: No One Measures Up to you. And you would tell me, "Haha, you're being a catty girl!!!!" You were always going on and on about how it was upsetting that most girls were so catty. Haha. I loved your descriptions. You'd say, "If I guy sees another guy with a pretty girl, we're like, allright man! But if a girl sees another girl with a cute guy, she's always like, that *** what did she do to get him?"

Oh gosh, and I remember the only time we got drunk together at your apartment there in Atlanta... and you & me & Robert & Frances had that huge wrestling match on the king-sized mattress we were moving. And we danced the train, all of us, up and down the stairs, like silly fools. And you told me, "I hate to dance. But Sunny dances so well, she makes up for my dorkiness." SO SWEET you were! And man, I finally got to know Sunny, after you died... and she is an angel. Really, just the most caring, funny, hilarious girl I've ever met. I love her to bits. And I am so glad that you had such a beautiful relationship with someone to actually make YOU happy the way you made everyone else so happy.

I miss you so much sometimes. I look at your photos, and I think, when I hugged you goodbye that last day.........why wasn't I more dramatic about it like all the parents were? Why did I just hug you like you were going off to the gas station when you were going off to war? I think it was because, deep in my heart, I had NO CLUE, and NO IDEA, and I NEVER WOULD HAVE GUESSED that something bad would have happened to you - not you - never. I just would NOT entertain the thought. I remember how you told me, "Mom & Destiny think I won't come back." And I laughed it off and was like, "JIM! You know how overdramatic our family is... don't be scared... I know nothing will happen to you." Just like I *knew* nothing would happen to my dad, when I drove away from the hospital and he died on my way home.

I just miss you and I just love you and I just want you to know that your life really meant something. You left a legacy behind you. You changed everyone you met. You make us all, this whole entire family, want to be better people. You make us all want to follow God. Jim, you did have a purpose-driven life...... you were an angel.

I love you.
______________________________________________________
The First Year...
without you. Jimmy Shawn.

Jim, I'm very ashamed of myself that I *have not yet finished* the Purpose Driven Life, the one you read TWICE in Afghanistan. The parts I have read, though, leave me feeling so comforted, to know that it is about "living your life with eternity in mind", that THIS was not just all there is. That comforts me, to know, that during your last months here on earth, you were focusing on the eternal - and then you were taken there, to enjoy it fully.

I remember you telling me, the (what I thought) was a disturbing verse in the Bible, talking about how you should cry at a birth, and rejoice at a funeral... because coming into this world of trials and tribulations is nothing to be glad about, but going on home to the Father, that is. :) And when I spoke to your mother this morning, she told me that verse was in the paper she was going to read at the service. I think you would be glad to know that. You know, now especially, better than us all, that death only brings life, eternal life - for the saints of God, like yourself. And I am so happy for you. For us, this is a tragedy, I cannot pretend it isn't. But I kinda smile, when I think, you are having your first "birthday party" in Heaven. What kind of video games do they have up there, Jimmy Shawn? And, what do you wear... no more forced Abercrombie & Fitch outfits that Sunny would buy for you, I guess Jesus selects your outfit now. ^___^

If any of my family reads this, and gets mad, I certainly wish you wouldn't. You guys all remember HOW FUNNY Jimmy Shawn always was cracking jokes right and left, no situation unturned... he was like a sweety Adam Sandlar... and *he* (Jim) would laugh his * off, at my jokes... so no one take offence, in the family, please... the way to lighten the difficulties of a difficult situation is with humor. Jim believed that, and so do I.

I remember, when we were young... all sitting around with the parents at a diner, and someone used the word "procrastination" and I did not know what it meant. I said, "Jim, what's that mean?" He said, "I'll tell you later!"

^_______________^

Then, he told me, of course. I remember the time he was so intently focused on playing the Nintendo 64 at my house, and Destiny and I came up with a wicked plan to catch him in a photo with underwear flying in the air. We threw the underwear right in front of his face, while he was still playing, and snapped the photo... I still have the picture, of Jim, with a serious look on his face, video game controller in his hand, and under wear flying through the air. Heeeeeeheeeeee.

Jim was a real sensitive guy, you know, you could talk to him about girly stuff like boob sizes and periods and tampons, and he wouldn't spaz out like an ignorant moron. Sometimes, I would be in the mirror sticking out my chest, and he would come stand beside me and stick out his chest (like we were comparing sizes) and he's say, "You win!" HAHAHA! He went through a phase of looking in the mirror a lot too, and he would say to me, "You know, I think guys have cycles too, you know? Like, I look in the mirror and I say to myself, 'Hey, you're a good-looking fella!' but about one week each month, I look in the mirror and I'm so disatisfied, and I think I'm so ugly and unattractive - and then, I go back to admiring myself again. He was so silly!!! And I remember, when he became ON FIRE for God, he *shaved his head* because he felt it was making him too vain, he was too concerned with his appearance, so he let it go. That's admirable!

Haha, and when I stayed with him in Atlanta, one day, he let me give him a make over. Totally make up his face, and he put on one of Sunny's pink short skirts she left behind - he looked SO RIDICULOUS with those hairy legs poking out of the skirt. Anyway, his roomate, Marine brother, whatever, Robert, came in and pretended to grab his "boobs" while we took pictures. When I told Robert I would make him up too, he was like, "Un-uh, man, no freakin way are you getting close to me with that stuff. I'm not a girly man!" And Jim playfully answered him, "You know, it's because I am comfortable with my sexuality so I can take this and think it's funny, but since you aren't Robert, it must mean you...." And Robert & Jim got into a wrestling match...with Jim in a skirt no less. Ahahaha! So funny!


I remember, right after Jim got back from Korea, he came to my bedroom and put in his "Family Values" CD, the first one, with Korn and Ramstien (sp?). It was then that I heard that fabulous song "DU HAST" which I love to this day, and I'll always think of him when I listen to it. He and I were so similar in our musical tastes it was such a bond.

I remember, once Jim became so onfire, he informed me that he was studying teaching by a man named "Perry Stone". He was an expert in Biblical prophecy, and the things Jim were pointing out to me were astounding. I was studying, my favorite speaker, Joyce Meyer, who teaches a practical application of the Bible to our daily lives. So it was a neat exchange, Jim would call me, and tell me about the mysteries and the prophecies and I would tell him about the scriptures depth of meaning in our lives... sometimes we'd stay on the phone for hours and hours. I truly miss those exchanges. Like I said before, Jimmy Shawn, I felt like you would be the one to lift me out of this jaded hole, back into a closer fellowship... but I promise you, I promise I will continue searching for that, until I find it. AND - I will read The Purpose Driven Life. AND, I will always love you. And, I will keep laughing for you, Jim. Keep smiling, for you. ^____^

Hahaha, you were the only one who would sit through my explainations of anime stories, and why I liked them, and what they were about, and sounded half-way interested (out of my family & friends who know/care nothing of the subject). I loved telling you about that, and you loved telling me the endings of very good movies. I STILL have not watched, WILL NOT watch, Scream, to this day, because you told me the movie, point by point, what happened.

We watched Vanilla Sky together, and we were amazed that the critics had nothing good to say about it, since we both enjoyed it quite a bit. We also watched, Lord of the Rings, the first one, together... and you couldn't believe that I actually got up, and went outside to smoke, in the middle of the film. JIM!!! That movie was *ing long!!! :) But I liked it. "My precious!" Hahahaha... you did such a good impersonation of that little creature. And your British accent, your Australian accent, your Indian accent = all astounding, all hilarious, all uncomparable!!!

My 14th birthday party, I happened to be in Indiana at the time, so you came, as did the entire family... but I think you had just found out your girlfriend was moving away or she rejected you (the *) or something, so you had a bottle of Bacardi rum, and you drank the entire little bottle and sat underneath a tree behind Aunt Linda's house. I had to come find you and ask you what was wrong... and you told me, and I gave you a little hug. Then, AFTERWARDS, my God, you were so apologetic, like, "Aww, I can't believe I did that on your birthday, your *birthday*, I'm so sorry Rachel." And I wasn't offended at all. I was sorry that you had been hurt. AND, I was amazed, because we were such young kids and neither of us really with any alcohol experience, that you had downed an entire bottle.

When we were little kids, and we lived together. I remember how you went from my room where I was pouting, to the room where Destiny was pouting, trying to make us make peace with each other, as she and I got into the only fight in our entire lives, over the movie, The Little Mermaid.

And the time, the three of us wanted to make a club house, so we tried to vote on a name, and Destiny wanted "Terrabithia" and you wanted something I can't remember, and I wanted a gang name, like "Crypts or Bloods" and none of us would agree, so we all got mad, and went outside with three different knives, and carved our chosen names on different trees.

Oh, Jimmy Shawn, I miss you so much. I just bought 3 new video games today and I *wish* you were here to help me play them, or more accurately *watch* me play them, since they are RPG's one player, and you owe it to me, since I sat and watched you beat Metal Gear Solid for 12 hours, and then watched you beat Devil May Cry... :) Sniff... Jimmy Shawn! :(

I miss you. I love you. I wish you were here. I'll see you in heaven, when I get there. And I promise, my beloved cousin, that I will constantly seek out my salvation, and help others too. I love you sooooooo much. Can't wait to see you again. Happy 1 Year Birthday, in Heaven.
-Love always, your cousin Rachel ^__^"
Rachel of Louisiana

"This is to you Jimmy,I wish that we could have had more time to share our lives together...There was so many things I wanted to share and talk about with you. Now the time is gone....I wish I could take back time so that we could spend a few more moments together where there would not be any doubts about my love for you and how I felted about you.I'm proud to know you as a "MAN" you turned out to be a wonderful person.I think of you often and you are sadly missed.There is a hole in my heart that never will be filled. Love, Dad"
Houston Gay of Pasadena TX

"TODAY IS THE SADEST SAY OF OUR LIFE. IT IS HARD TO BELEIVE IT HAS BEEN ONE YEAR. WE LOVE AND MISS YOU GREATLY. WISH YOU WERE HERE. YOU ARE MISSED VERY MUCH TODAY AS YOU ARE EVERYDAY. TODAY IS JUST LIKE RELIVING THE WORST DAY OF OUR LIVES. WISH WE COULD SEE YOU ONE MORE TIME AND TO TELL YOU WE LOVE YOU VERY MUCH AND WE ARE PROUD OF YOUR SACRIFICE TO THE WORLD AND OUR FAMILY. MOM AND DAD ALSO MISS YOU VERY MUCH AND I HOPE THEY MAKE IT THROUGH THE DAY. ALL WE CAN DO IS HOLD ON TO THE LOVE WE ALL HAD FOR YOU. IT ONLY SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY THAT I TALKED TO YOU AT MOM AND DAD'S HOUSE BEFORE YOU WENT ON TOUR. UNTIL WE SEE YOU AGAIN, WE LOVE AND MISS YOU DEEPLY. YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY LITTLE BROTHER. I LOVE YOU. IT SEEMS LIKE YESTERDAY THAT WE WERE SHARING A ROOM EVERY OTHER WEEKEND AND FIGHTING OVER THE BED AND TV AND WHOSE ROOM IT WAS.THEN ONE DAY YOU LEFT LOUSIANA AND MOVED TO INDIANA. OUR TIME WAS CUT SHORT THEN AND IT HAS BEEN NOW.OUR CHILHOOD WAS THE BEST DAYS WE SHARED TOGETHER. I'M JUST SORRY WE DIDN'T GET TO SHARE MORE DAYS TOGETHER THAN WE DID. I WILL ALWAYS REMEMBER YOU AS THE GREATEST GUY EVER KNOWN.I HATE THAT MADISON WILL NEVER GET TO MEET YOU BUT SHE WILL KNOW AND LOVE YOU FOR WHO YOU WERE. SADLY MISSED AFTER A YEAR. WE LOVE YOU. TILL WE MEET AGAIN."
MELISSA SHELTON-- STEP SISTER OF JAMES of VANCLEAVE, MS

""Like it was before"


You can't wipe away the tears that don't fall.
I feel anger and grief or nothing at all.

It's been one whole year since you didn't come home
and the meeting we had for you made me feel more alone.

We all love you and miss you and we selfishly cling
to your smile and your laugh and material things.

You can't shake off hugs that chill to the bone
still frozen inside at that moment I got the call at my home

I'll never forget the shock of that day
instead of back home, you went far, far away.

Not one day goes by that I don't say your name
But since that April 6, it doesn't sound the same.

Time might heal all wounds, but your jokes heal us more
than our wishes that life was like it was before.

Day after day, I search for some peace
and I hope that your memory makes my sadness cease."
Love, your cousin Cindy of Somerset, Massachusetts

"Well, Jimmy a year is here and it seems like yesterday, the pain is always there.....love you judie"
Judie Gay of Pasadena Tx

"I'm over here at your mom's house thinking about how wonderful you were and still are. Love and miss you :)"
Cousin Cindy Given of Crossville, IL

"To Joshua Brett Gay and to his brother Jimmy Shawn Gay, later named Sgt. James Shawn Lee, We are all so very proud to have been amongst your presence in this life, and though both of yours were cut shorter than we would have liked, we are forever grateful for all the love, joy, endurance and loyalty you showed and shared while on this earth. Your life lessons were many to a great many, and the sadness your deaths leave hurt a great many also. May all our pain, suffering, and loss stop here and now, and the lessons of God's love that you brought to us and taught us, be all that we cling to, and live up to in life toward each other and toward all mankind. May we now be forever made at peace for having been chosen to know, love, teach, and learn from both of you. And for having been chosen to be your MOM, out of all the MOms in this life...I am eternally grateful. You were on loan to your Dad and I for 4 and 26 years, and though we both do have our own faults in showing that love, we do both deeply love and miss you and feel honor that for such a breif time you were not only GOD's, you were OURS!"
MOM of Crossville, Illinois

"TO ALL OF JIMMY'S FAMILY:

IT IS SAD TO KNOW THAT AT A TIME LIKE THIS WE ARE BRINGING UP EVERYONE'S FAULT IN JIMMY'S LIFE. HE WOULD NOT WANT HIS FAMILY FIGHTING. THIS IS A TIME TO REMEMBER HOW GREAT JIMMY WAS NOT FOR EVERYONE TO FIGHT. I DO NOT BELIEVE JIMMY WOULD WANT HIS PARENTS FIGHTING OVER WHO DID WHAT NONE OF THAT MATTERS. WE ALL LOVED JIMMY AND NO ONE KNOWS HOW MUCH HE RELLY MEANT TO OUR FAMILY AND WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO TELL HIM JUST HOW MUCH WE REALLY CARED AND WORRIED ABOUT HIM WHILE HE WAS ON ACTIVE DUTY. THE PRICE WE HAVE TO PAY FOR OUR FAULTS IS FOR NO ONE BUT GOD TO DECIDE. SO WE NEED TO REMEMBER HOW MUCH JIMMY WAS LOVED AND WILL BE MISSED FOR THE REST OF OUR LIVES. MY HEART GOES OUT TO BOTH OF JIMMY'S PARENTS FOR THEIR LOSS. JUST REMEMBER JIMMY WE ALL LOVE AND MISS YOU. ALL OF YOUR FAMILY DOES. GREIVING IS WORST THING THAT ANYONE EVER HAS TO DO, BUT LET US ALL GREIVE IN PEACE. WE ALL DESERVE THAT MUCH ATLEAST. GOD BLESS EVERYONE THAT VISITS THIS SITE OR THAT HAS EVER HAD TO GREIVE FOR THEIR OWN CHILD OR BROTHER. JIMMY, YOU WILL ALWAYS BE MY BROTHER FOREVER NO MATTER HOW CLOSE OUR FAMILY WAS. I'M GRATEFUL FOR THE TIME WE SPENT TOGETHER AND I WILL MISS YOU ALWAYS. UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN--- I LOVE YOU WE WILL ALWAYS BE FAMILY NO MATTER WHAT. I JUST WISH EVERYONE COULD GET ALONG FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILIES SAKE. YOU DESERVE MORE THAN OUR FAMILIES TO FIGHT OVER FAULTS. NONE OF THAT SHOULD MATTER. WE SHOULD ALL BE TALKING ABOUT HOW GREAT YOU WERE AND THE IMPACT YOU HAD ON EVERYONES'S LIFE. GOD BLESS YOU AND THANKS FOR MAKING OUR WORLD A SAFER PLACE."
MELISSA SHELTON-- STEP SISTER OF JAMES of VANCLEAVE, MS

"Jay, I am sorry for all the bad things that have been said to each other on the phone, and for all the bashing evryone has been doing both on your side and on mine, for neither you nor I are blameless and BOTH of us have suffered much in life with the losses of both our children. Some of what has been said is true and much of it has been miswritten as I am sure you know.

But in the end, all that really matters is that YOU, and I, and those Boys and God know ALL THE TRUTHS, and the biggest truth is THEY WERE BOTH LOVED AND ARE BOTH GREATLY MISSED."
Becky of Crossville,Ill

"yes you are right the real story will come out...this is not the right place to air dirty laundry.Sorry Jimmy but sometimes things are not private and people just can't hold it in any longer things will be taken care of so rest in peace and we will see you soon later......your loving step mom Judie"
JUDIE GAY of PASADENA, TX

"I just want to clairify one not truth in the family of mr. Gay's letter... NO ONE can stop ANYONE from having services for anyone.If he gave no service for his son it was by his own choice not the mothers.She resides 1/2 the country away how could she have stopped him or even know if he did???
And more to the point this site is to honor a soldier NOT to argue about past things that happened to a man that is not even around to care about what happened back then."
3rd party trying to settle this of u.s.a.

"I wasn't privileged to meet Jimmy S.Lee on this earth; but if nothing happens I will one day get to shake his hand and thank him for serving his country and protecting those of us at home. I know he was a wonderful friend and soldier just from reading the messages on this site. My best friend thought highly of him and therefore, I know he was a wonderful person. Only what is recorded in the Book of Life is going count in Heaven; therefore, whatever his life was like growing up God knows who was responsible for him and acted on his behalf and who loved him and took the best care of him. That is what will count when judgment takes place ---- so to his family who loved him and miss him still today --- I say hold your head up high and keep trusting in Jesus and let Him comfort your hearts."
Darlene of Bogalusa, LA.

"OHH How tragic!! God bless this HERO & his family!! I also have two sons in heaven so I understand more than you all realize about "grief" and "regrets"!! We all have them after loosing someone we love so dearly..PLEASE focus on the Lord's PROMISES!! Hold fast to them !!! They are what counts. God Bless you!! I am praying for you all. You have touched my heart today!!!"
Peggy Miller of Bogalusa, LA

"I am a friend of Jimmy's aunt Regenia Gay. In my book anyone who serves and dies for his/her country is the greatest hero of all. Thank you Jimmy for my freedom. My prayers to the family."
Jackie Simmons of Gautier, Mississippi

"I want something out there representative of what his side of the story has been like...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~




Hello, as someone on this posting has already said, there is always two sides to every story. Let's see if we can piece together one from Jimmy's father's side.

Perhaps he was a divorced father left, to not only be the bread winner, but also see after two small sons. In those days it wasn't ordinary for the father to get custody, so where was the loving mom then? I don't think she is faultless in this story from this side of the coin.

While at work, the caretaker he had entrusted the jewels of his life with, abused his tiny sons and the older one was murdered while the younger son looked on. Then while the father was investigated in the murder of his oldest child the other was whisked away and given over to the mom who had not been in the picture for a while. After many months, the father was cleared of any wrong doing, he was still traumatized by the events he had just lived through. Leaving him numb with pain.

The mom took the tiny child far far away creating a wall between this hurting father and very young son who only had bad memories of a very bad experience, which probably included nightmares of seeing what happened to his older brother and what had happened to himself. The child wasn't old enough to sort out in his mind what had happened in his life so he grew up being fed not so true stories that his father didn't love him, and the father was still too numb with the pain of what had happened to both of his young sons.

After going thru many years of self torture over what he felt was somehow his fault in the death of one son and the virtual loss of the other son, what might one expect him to do? He walked in shoes NONE of us would want to walk in.

Now he is having to walk in a different pair of shoes and the criticisms we have read of him in this posting are surely not justified.

I have done a bit of research into the newspaper accounts after Jimmy's passing and they didn't paint a nice picture of Mr Gay either. The comments made about him in the newspapers were similar to the ones made here and they went out into the world over all the news wires. Compounding the grief this man must surely have already been having, with him expecting Jimmy to be home the very next week, now here he had to attend his son's funeral in a place hostile to him with no one but his wife to accompany him.

Also, as I gather, the father wasn't allowed to have any sort of services for his son that would have included his very large family. Jimmy had 10 aunts and uncles by BLOOD, just as many by marriage and many, many cousins who would have no doubt liked to have had a time to grieve along with and beside his father. Many split families these days have 2 services and I read nowhere that Mr Gay was allowed to have one for his family and friends.

He and his wife had to travel into the bitter territory of his ex-wife's friends and family, alone, to even share in the one service for his only remaining child, Jimmy.

I hope this sheds some light on what the other side of the coin might look like. I also see that the way in which Mr Gay has been portrayed until now was much too harsh for a father that has suffered so much loss in his life. He is a nice, hard working man that doesn't deserve the double blows life has dealt him. Many of us couldn't walk in his shoes."
Family of Houston Gay Jr

"To the father of James S Lee,I read the Memorials to your son James,some touch my heart and others were vindictive to you. I'm sorry that in your time of Grief that you are being attacked for past Transgressions.I want you to know that when you meet your Maker of all Things that are good, James will be waiting for you with LOVING and FORGIVING arms to welcome you home with him with no thoughts of the past only the beginnings of a new LIFE together with our Lord"
Mother with a Forgiving Heart of Lake Charles, La

"IN THE BEGINNING WAS GOD...AT THE END IS GOD. FOR INFINITY...FOR ALL."

"Jimmy... you were my nephew... My husband's brother's son... I only knew you for a brief time, but I knew of the struggles in your life and some of the burdens you had to bear... But that is what made you the strong man you turned out to be... The hard knocks of life usually have a way of shaping our lives... in how we respond to them...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Thankfully you chose to turn to the Lord and let Him help guide you thru your life and I am sure He has taken you to that place we all long to go someday, Your someday only came too soon... I know how much your Dad and step mom are missing you... It can be seen in their faces... Your place in their hearts can never be filled...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I never had a son, but if I did, I would hope he would grow up to be the wonderful man it sounds like that you became... Also, thank you from the bottom of my heart for being the brave person you were in trying to do your part in making this place a better world for us all, and most especially for the children of that area... Just maybe, they can grow up to become a different sort of people than their parents... Because of people like you caring enough to lay down their lives for what they so strongly believed in...
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Just recently, I lost a very dear friend to that same effort... He was my car pool buddy for a year, before he left... and probably just like you... All he could talk about was going to do his part in making the world safer for his 3 children... He would rather go fight it over there than wait for it to come to the shores where his children lived... Just maybe you can look him up and you two can hang out together till the rest of us get there...

We loved you Jimmy and share in your father's grief...
Aunt Regenia"
REGINA GAY of GULFPORT MISS

"To whomever it may concern:
On September 18th, 1978 Jimmy Shawn Gay, came into this world quietly, for upon his birth he had his first major asthma attack and made but a mere gasping sound for a few seconds. He was brought into this world with only the ambulance driver, the e-room doctor, and his mother present in the room where he was born. But even then his Mother knew God had hand chosen him for a very special mission, just as He had also chosen his older brother Joshua two years prior for an equally special mission in God's over-all plan of life. Joshua endured many ups and downs, joys and sadness in his short four years of life until his brutal murder in 1981. Jimmy Shawn, known as "Bo Bitty Bear" until the age of five and a half, also knew many joys and pains, ups, and downs in his short 26 years on this earth.Joshua at the age of three, upon learning of God's existance during his first time to Church was awed that an invisible person could love the whole world all at once and never miss loving one single person. The preacher that day had filled the entire church with the abundance of White Roses to portray God's purity and beauty in such a fragile thing as a Rose. Somehow in the remaining year and a half of his life after that day he spread that beautiful enduring and all encompassing love he had learned about by presenting me with any white rose he could find, be it real, drawn on a paper, or a plastic one, such as the one he gave me on Christmas Day just two months before he was murdered.
Jimmy also at a very young age learned of how truly AWESOME and all encompassing God's great and flawless love for all mankind is, and throughout the years of his life he did all in his, and God's power to spread to all he came in contact with, just how all encompassing Gods Love truly is. Five days before he died and Joined his REAL and loving FATHER, not just an earthly one, he said to me, If I died today I would have to say I have lived all but two of my dreams and for that I will die a very happy man. My first and foremost dream Mom, is to finally get to know my dad and know for sure that he loves me as a person and a man, not just because I am his son. And second, to be the very best Father I can possibly be to the child or children God ever Gives me in this life. Well my precious baby boy, whether you ever really knew it, I think your Dad does love you and never knew how to really show you that love, and as for your dream to be the very best Dad to whatever child or children God gave you: you were adored by, Dante', Kylee Shawn", all your neices, nephews, cousins, ANNA ROSARIO, and all the children at the orphanage in Afghanistan you so often spoke about that you visited and wanted to someday return to in your future travels as the Missionary you wanted to be once you were released from the military. So Son, I want you to know that YES, YOUR DAD DID love you, and Yes we all mourn your passing. And more than anything son, I miss all the immense JOY you showered my life with, that I wish your Dad could have also known, and been a part of. He truly will never fully know what and who he has really lost by God calling both you and Joshua HOME> But after all, they say, "HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS". And I for one know that your heart has been with God since you gasped for that very first breath of LIFE, and I thank God that of all the women in this world, and all the sisters in this world, and all the wives in this world, GOD chose ME, Destiny, and our SUNNY SHINE GIRL, MI Sung LEE, to share that brief but beautiful 26 years with. White Roses Forever to you my son Shawn."
MOM of Crossville, Illinois

"This is once again Jimmy's little sister.And I want to say I am sorry to ANYONE who took offense to my last message.I did not mean it to smear anyone. I only want the world to know that despite all the hardships that Jim and I were dealt he grew up to be a hero.A wonderful Man that had more spirit, love, kindness,honor,humor,and compassion than anyone else I've ever met. He IS a hero and not because he served our country,and not because he died doing so,,, BECAUSE of who he was!!!!! He wanted everyone to carry God's love in their hearts the way that he did,he wanted everyone to rejoice with him for God.He was there for me when no one else was.He was the glue that mended our whole family.He was adored by everyone that knew him.He touched everyone's heart that he came in contact with in some way.That is what makes him a hero to me.Despite Life being against both of us he over came all of it.He became A MAN!!!I didn't become 1/2 of the person that he did even though I had the same resourses wich was not many.He deserves to be known not just for what he did in the service but what he did in life and who he became through it all. It truely saddens me that the whole world can't know him the way I did, they can't know the wonderful person he was only hear/read the things people say. I am sorry to anyone that took offense to my letter."
Destiny Dowden of Mt. Vernon

"Jimmy Shawn!! The last convo I had with you was about how proud we were of what we both had accomplished. But you could never be as proud of me as I am of you. I think of you often; my favorite story about you isn't really a story but a childhood plot! I'll bet nobody (but Destiny and Holly) would believe that it was really our mess(es) that we shoved onto their side of the room when we wanted to go outside and play, leaving it for our little sisters to clean up :) We all still joke about how only YOU would eat my mom's meatloaf EWW! The best you-and-me memory I have is the week we spent at church camp one summer... and the rest of that summer when you talked about how much fun it was! It hurts to know that we were once close, and now you're so far away. See you in heaven. :) (PS Washy, washy, washy!)"
Cousin Cindy Given of Crossville, IL

"Jimmy Shawn was a good man who was very well respected and loved by a whole lot of people. It should not matter where he came from only where he went."HEAVEN"--HOME IN THE ARMS OF OUR LORD--NO SHAME-NO GUILT-NO REGRET. TO BE WITH GOD--HAND CHOSEN THAT IS THE MOST INPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER, BECAUSE, NOTHING ELSE MATTERS"
Aunt Midge Lambert of Mt. Vernon, IN USA

"Sgt. James "Jimmy Shawn" Lee. Born Sept. 18th 1978 was born Jimmy Shawn Gay, NOT James anything. He changed his name to James Shawn Lee legally upon his Marriage to Mi Sung Lee. Yes, His Birth Father was Houston Gay, Jr. And both were and are good men. Deadbeat does not mean that his father did not love him for I know he did. It was Jimmy who never fully knew if his father loved him or not and he spoke of that often to me, as well as in the final letter he wrote to me just five days prior to his death. Deadbeat means his father did not financially take any responsibility for his child and that is the truth in our case. There were not Christmas or birthday gifts from his father, nor help as he grew up, like there should have been. Jimmy was not the only child Houston had. There was another child named Joshua Brett Gay who died at the age of four while both boys were in their fathers care though it was not the fault of their father. Both boys were exemplary people and are greatly missed now and always. Perhaps Houston not being in the picture and the death of his brother and love for his sister Destiny and step sister Melissa helped create the need in him to be the very best person he could be and for that I am grateful for no finer man or Marine was ever born."
His MOM Rebecca of Crossville, Ill

"NO MATTER WHAT IS SAID ABOUT JIMMY'S OTHER FAMILY AND HIS REAL FATHER, HE WILL ALWAYS BE OUR BROTHER, SON AND FRIEND. IT DOES NOT MATTER HOW HE GREW UP OR WITH WHOM I AM SURE HIS FATHER WAS NOT A DEAD BEAT AND THERE IS ALWAYS TWO SIDES TO EVERY STORY. ANYWAY WHO CARES ABOUT THINGS LIKE THAT WHEN HE WAS LOVED BY ALL. HE TALKED ABOUT ALL OF HIS FAMILY HIS DAD THE MOST SO, IT REALLY DOES NOT MATTER WHETHTER HE WAS AROUND HIS DAD OR NOT JIMMY STILL LOVED HIM MORE THAT ANYONE KNOWS INCLUDING HIS FAMILY. TEXAS IS WHERE HE WANTED TO BE WHEN HE GOT OF THE MILITARY. HE WANTED TO GO TO COLLEGE AND LIVE WITH HIS DAD DURING THAT TIME. HE WAS A GREAT MAN NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAYS OR DOES JIMBO LOVED HIS DAD AND DID NOT SEE HIM AS A DEADBEAT. HE WILL BE SADLY MISSED. PEOPLE TALK MORE TO FRIENDS THAN FAMILY.I WILL PRAY FOR THOSE IN HIS FAMILY WHO THINK DIFFERENTLY OF JIMBO'S THOUGHTS OF HIS DAD. WE LOVE YOU JIMBO ALWAYS THANKS FOR BEING A FRIEND."
SETTING IT STRAIGHT of GEORGIA

"I am Destiny, Jimmy's little sister. And I loved him so much. I just today found this sight and want to thank everyone for their words of comfort and gratitude.Jimmy really was a hero even before this happened. He was my hero,in my whole life he was always there for me and he was the only one I could count on. We grew up side by side with our Mom.We had NO FATHER around for either of us.And despite the fact that it was just our mother and us.Jimmy grew up to be a better man than any deadbeat Dad could have taught him to be.We were of different fathers but their was nothing half about us.Jimmy grew up full of life, God, Love, and humor. He loved to make people laugh especially if they were down. He wanted everyone to turn to God and follow God so that they would go to heaven and live eternal life.I am sure someday we will see my brother again,I miss him more than life and someday I will hug him again."
Destiny Dowden of Mt.Vernon In

"I stood beside Jimmy Shawn on August 29, 1997, the day we became Marines. We spent 4 years together from Paris Island to South Korea. He was the best friend a man could have and an exemplary Marine. I'm honored to have known him and saddened that we won't meet again in this life. My heartfelt prayers go out to his family and Sunny. He loved you all very much. May you find peace in this time of loss, and remember all the joy he brought to us all. Semper Fi."
Josh Lambert of Daegu, S. Korea

"TOMORROW'S YOUR BIRTHDAY SEPT 18TH AND IT WEIGHTS HEAVY ON MY HEART.........HAPPY BIRTHDAY! LOVE YA JUDIE GAY"
JUDIE GAY of PASADENA TX 77503

"TOMORROW'S YOUR BIRTHDAY SEPT 18TH AND IT WEIGHTS HEAVY ON MY HEART.........HAPPY BIRTHDAY! LOVE YA JUDIE GAY"
JUDIE GAY of PASADENA TX 77503

"MARINE SGT JAMES S. LEE -
You are an American Hero whose ultimate sacrifice will not be forgotten by a grateful nation. Rest in peace Marine. You will be remembered and honored for always being faithful to God, Country, Family and The Corps.
AMERICA SALUTES SGT JAMES S. LEE"
D. BURT of PORTSMOUTH, RI

"MOST PEOPLE DON'T KNOW THAT JAMES S. LEE WAS ACTUALLY JAMES "JIMMY" GAY. HE CHANGED HIS NAME A FEW YEARS AGO. HIS BIRTH NAME WAS ACTUALLY GAY. HIS FATHER IS HOUSTON GAY OF PASADENA,TX. JIMMY WAS LOVED BY ALL THAT KNEW HIM BUT HE WAS LOVED GREATLY BY HIS FATHER. JIMMY WAS HIS ONLY CHILD. I AM HIS STEP DAUGHTER AND HAVE BEEN FOR 15 YRS. NO ONE KNOWS WHAT HE MEANT TO OUR FAMILY BUT I ASSURE YOU WE LOVED HIM DEEPLY. MY MOM IS JIMMY'S STEP MOM AND SHE LOVED HIM AS HER OWN. WHEN SOMETHING LIKE THIS HAPPENS WE ALL REGRET THAT WE DID NOT SPEND ENOUGH TIME WITH OUR LOVE ONE BUT I HOPE JIMMY KNEW THAT WE LOVED HIM MORE THAN WORDS COULD SAY. WE ARE VERY PROUD OF HIS SACRIFICE BUT IT WAS NOT A SACRIFICE TO HIM. IT WAS JUST A SACFRIFICE TO US. TO LOSE THE ONE WE LOVED. I LOVE YOU JAY AND MOM AND I HOPE YOUR DAYS GET EASIER. HE WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTON. WE LOVE YOU AND ARE VERY PROUD OF YOU JIMMY."
MELISSA SHELTON of VANCLEAVE, MS

"The Marines of VMFA-134 Ordnance will always keep the memory of our fallen comrade with us. IYAOYAS and Semper Fi Sgt Lee."
Mathew Reilly, CPL/USMC of MCAS Miramar, CA

"To the family and friends,

Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your loved ones bravery and sacrifice. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. Your loved one is a hero. Greater love have no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13.

God bless you.

Home Front Ministries
Shepherd of the Hills Church
Porter Ranch, CA""

"I will never know a better man,friend or Marine.Jimbo was a true and faithful friend.He was always there if you ever needed anything.He would give you the shirt off his back.He lived as a true Christian.
Rest easy my friend,I will keep you with me always.I will remember your relationship with God and the example that you set just by being yourself and strive to be at that level."
SSGT Matthew Girardin of Ft.Worth,Texas

"To James' Family and Friends:

On behalf of the Blanco-Caldas family, we send our sincerest condolences. We share the same loss ... the same pain. Our son returned safely from Afghanistan, only to lose his life in Iraq. Our prayers are with you in this most difficult time and we thank you for your soldier's bravery and sacrifice.

Sincerely,

The Family of Capt. Ernesto M. Blanco-Caldas, 82nd Airborne
KIA Iraq 12/28/2003.
Gloria Caldas (The Big Ern's Mom) of San Antonio, TX
gloria.caldas@sbcglobal.net"

"TO THE LEE FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. WE ARE DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE LOST OF JAMES. HE IS A HERO AND WILL NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN. I APPRECIATE JAMES IS SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. JAMES YOU WILL HAVE NOT GIVEN YOUR LIFE IN VIAN. MY PRAYS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! GOD BLESS!"
leonard t. wahl of VALLEY STREAM NY

"TO THE LEE FAMILY FROM THE WAHL FAMILY. WE ARE DEEPLY SADDEN BY THE LOST OF JAMES. HE IS A HERO AND WILL NEVER EVER BE FORGOTTEN. I APPRECIATE JAMES IS SERVICE TO OUR COUNTRY. JAMES YOU WILL HAVE NOT GIVEN YOUR LIFE IN VIAN. MY PRAYS ARE WITH YOU AND YOUR FAMILY! GOD BLESS!"
leonard t. wahl of VALLEY STREAM NY

"We Will NEVER FORGET !"
Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, James will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Sgt James Lee was a very good friend of mine and a fellow Christian. We both attended Trinity Chapel in Powder Springs Ga. James was a very intelligent Marine and always went out of his way to help others. He was always eager to tell others about God and had planned to get out of the Marines when his time was up and become a minister. James was a minister, teacher and friend. He will be greatly missed. He spoke often of his family and his ex-wife. If you read this please pray for them. We will miss you James."
GySgt Mike Culver of Bagram Afghanistan

"Thank you James Lee, you will not be forgotten. Your bravery goes beyond words. I want to express my deepest gratitude for your sacrifice. To the family and friends, my prayers and deep condolences in your loss. May God strengthen you from knowing that fellow Americans and people around the world care about you and grieve with you in your loss. God bless you all. A very appreciative fellow American,"
Leo Titus of Grayslake, Illinios

"To the family and friends of Sgt. James Lee:
May God's grace be with you during your time of grief. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you and we feel your loss and share in your sorrow. Bless James for the sacrifice he has made to make a better life for the rest of us."
The Ford Family of Wells, Nevada

"To the family and friends of Sgt. James Lee:
I am saddened by the loss of your loved one. He will always be remembered as a hero for fighting for freedom. I hope that this website will be a source of comfort and encouragement for you during this difficult time, and in the future as you recall the memories of James, who continues to live on in your heart."
Tim Rivera of Powder Springs, Georgia

Honor them by remembering... Freedom - is their gift to us But his soul goes marching on