Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Sgt. Keith L. Smette

25, of Fargo, North Dakota.
Smette died as a result of injuries received when his convoy was attacked with an improvised explosive device north of Fallujah, Iraq. He was assigned to 957th Engineer Company, 130th Engineer Brigade, Bismarck, North Dakota. Died on January 24, 2004.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Sgt. Keith L. Smette.

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Leave a message in memory of this servicemember, and/or to the loved ones left behind.

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"Thinking of you today, thank you for serving, you are missed by many...."

"I wish I could have had the chance to know you. Your niece and nephews speak of you often. The youngest prays that someday he can fish with you. Please, from up above, watch over us and your brother. He needs you right now, misses you and loves you so much.. You're missed so much by so many."
PS of Bismarck

"12 years. Your memory will never fade from my thoughts. I've missed you each day and the struggle remains. I can't wait to feel your embrace again, I'm in desperate need of it."
rs

"Keith
When I would come to your parents house to see your mother when you were there you would always make me feel special. I looked at you like a big brother. When you were trying to wash your car and it ended up in a water fight. Or playing hide and seek in the basement or hide the fish pillow. The last time I saw you, you promised me the next time you were home you would take me fishing. We moved and God needed and angel he got you. With gods will I will see you again. I Believe. And when I get to those pearly gates I will take you up on that promise."
Brooke Lynn Louks of plaza nd

"August 6, 2015.

Over 11 years later.

Hard to believe the greatest friend I could have ever known has been gone for that long. You haven't been replaced, nor will you ever. My world is still in pieces."
rs

"Thank you, Bill"

"I love you. 11 years and how can it still hurt. Part of me wants to live a long happy life and part of me just wants to be with you again."

"Missing you."
Sonja

"TO THE FAMILY OF KEITH I HAVE BEEN WEARING HIS BRACELET FOR 11 YEARS
NOW AND ASK ABOUT IT I TELL THEM
ABOUT THE IED AND THAT HE WAS ONLY 25
I WILL KEEP ON DOING THIS. HE IS NOT
FORGOTTEN."
BILL GOEHRING USN of EDISON NJ

"I dream of spending time with you. I feel like I've lost my way too many times since you've been gone. I miss you each and every day and my love for you has not changed. I love you brother."
rs

"i love you so much brother."
rs

"I love and miss you every day of my life. You're still missed just like you were the day you were taken. I love you my brother."
rs

"Miss you buddy. What a shitty annaversary to remember but it's a tough one to forget."
Kerry of Bismarck

"Thinking of you today! Please watch over all of us down here on Earth, especially your family during the holidays."

"It is raining on Memorial Day in Makoti. It is almost as if the sky is shedding tears, but the sun WILL shine again. Thinking of you, Smette family."
TS of Makoti

"Proverbs 17:17"
rs

"I never met you....I do know your brother. To have met him is to know you. You are my brother for life and you are missed. Our country is forever grateful for your ultimate sacrifice. I think of you often and the pain that you family feels. I can't help but shed a tear when I know that the loss of you has affected someone such as Robbie. I love you both until I die. Watch over us from Heaven brother. THANK YOU FOR YOU ULTIMATE SACRIFICE!!"
Nate Baldwin

"I love you so much my brother."
rs of makoti

"so much."
rs of Tucson

"I miss you so much big brother."
rs

"Thinking about you today. Thank you for serving our country and giving the ultimate sacrifice. Praying for your family and you. God Bless"
LP of Fargo, ND

"I wish you were here today, and everyday."
rs

"9th year. I wouldn't miss this for anything."
rs of 1 mile east of makoti

"Think of you often, we all know you are smiling down at us, but we all wish you were still here."

"I wish you were here."
rs

"I miss you so much today."
rs of ft rucker, al

"I miss you so much."
rs of makoti

"8 years ago we said goodbye to you in our hometown high school gym. the community worked so hard to clear enough parking for everyone. I am so thankful for those who showed so much love for you and our family."
rs

"8 years ago today the world lost an amazing man. You and your beautiful heart touched so many. I am so very honored to have had you as a friend. You never passed judgement and greeted the world with a smile. Such a bright smile. It has been gloomy and rainy here for the past week, until today. The sun came out today. I'm sure it was you smiling your bright smile. Thank you for all you are. I will never forget. Miss and love you very much."
Sonja

"8 years. No words can describe the pain I feel knowing I'll never make another memory with you and knowing that no one could ever replace you. I'm so happy, thankful and proud of the time we had together and how we made the most of our time by building a bond that I'll never forget and one that could never be substituted for. Your brother misses you so much. I would give my health and all my possessions for one more moment. It makes me damn proud to be your brother. You were and always will be the one person I strived to be like."
rs

"It's been almost 8 yrs, Keith. Not a day goes by that I don't think about you and wish you were still here. I wish things would be different, but also know that you, Kenny, and Jon are up there watching over all of us. Thinking of you and Missing you."
JYB of Belcourt, ND

"You don't have to look very far for Keith...he is all around you, in that touch on your face when no one is there, that brush against your hair, again when no one is there, that penny that lies on the floor, the feather you find..the lights flickering, all these things show you that he is still here and he is watching over you. All you have to do is look and you will find him."

"I miss you so much. I wish I could hang recent pictures of you and I up on the wall but that's just not possible. We've missed out on so many memories. Those who knew you will always have a void in their hearts that could never be filled again. I love you Keith."
rs

"I love you Keith. I need my best friend back. It's hurts me so much to think about all the time we have lost and how many more memories we could have made. I truly don't think anyone understands what you meant to me. The world, and my life, lost so much of its promise and appeal when you left. I feel so disconnected and lost. So many good people have entered my life since you left. I wish they had a chance to know you and to feel the love you had in your heart."
rs

"you always remembered my birthday... you didn't have to, but you always made me feel special. i miss you terribly every day still. when will this start to feel better. 7 yrs isn't long enough. for the rest of my life.. damn. i love you."
ls

"Thinking of you Keith, I thank you for the ultimate sacrifice you have given to this country. So many people miss you. THANK YOU!!"

"i would give anything to have you here to watch your neice and nephew grow. they would love uncle keith. addy points to the sky when i ask her where you are."
rs

"No one made me laugh like you did. No one was ever there for me like you were. No one will ever replace you. You will always be my best friend."
rs

"Hey buddy been thinking of you today. God Bless..."
Kerry G. of Bismarck

"I miss you Keith. I really need my brother back."
rs

"Thinking of you today as I do a lot of days. There are a lot of people that miss you dearly. Heaven sure has a special angel up there!"

"robby smette misses his best friend."

"love you bb. i love you"

"i will never forgive myself."

"This pain is crippling."
rs

"happy birthday bb. miss you more than anything in the world. i love you so much. ls"

"Happy Birthday Keith! You are missed by so many people. Thinking of your family today too!"

"Smette Family,
Thinking of you all and Keith today. May God ease your pain today and every day."
Karen Morlock

"thinking of you today! thank you for your ultimate sacrifice.... we are so proud of you."

"Take my health, take my possessions, and take my accomplishments. They do not mean anything without you here to share the world with. The only things that keep me going are too young to understand how painful my world is."
rs

"I need to hear your voice. I need your bear hug today..... I love you and miss you more than i every thought I could handle missing you.......KTF."

"i wish you walked by my picture hanging on the armory wall everyday."

"i love you"
rs

"baby keith ate about a half bag of popcorn last night. i sure wish his name wouldn't have had to be keith. i sure wish you could be here with us. your neice loves "uncle keith" so much and baby keith will know everything about the man he was named after. i love you and miss you more than you or anyone knows. i would give my life so this world could have you back."
rs

"I wish you could have been there to hold baby keith when he was baptized. he will know all about you. i love you."
rs

"I don't know how I've been able to continue without you."
rs

"i miss you so much. i hate doing all of this without you."
rs

"i love you big brother. i wish we could go fishing one more time."
rs

"I wish we were watching the big game together. I miss watching and talking football with you."
rs

"I love you BB."
rs

"Thinking of you and your family. So many people love you and we all know you are looking down on everyone!"

"thinking of you today and always. i love you bb. i watched the saddest episodes of six feet under today and the last few days. i know it's a tv show, but it was weird to see their flash forwards in life without their brother and son. how life continues. til we meet again. i love you.
ls"

"Can this all just be over soon? This life without you has made so many lives incomplete. I thank god for the blessings I have received since you passed. I don't know where I would be without them."
rs

"Love Ya"
Dad-O

"happy birthday keith. i love you."
rs

"You are loved just as much now as you were when you lived. I find comfort knowing where you are and being able to live for you until I get to see you again. I miss you so much my brother. Addy gives you kisses after her bath everyday and when we ask her where Uncle Keith is she points to the sky. She can look at any picture of you and know who you are. It's really like she's met you before. Thank you and God for picking her and Keith Hunter out and sending them to us. We are so blessed."
rs

"I love you Keith."
your bro

"Thank you Keith."

"He is just beautiful and will grow up and be brave, strong and loving just like you."

"Thank you for what you have done for this country. America needs more people with your kind of character."
rs

"He was kinda early :) I love you."

"ros misses kls"

"I miss you my brother. Thanks for the dreams I have on almost a nightly basis where we get to hang out like old times. Do I really have to go the rest of my life without you? Its just not fair. It should have been me. I love you Keith."

"Thank you Keith!"

"i am wearing a shirt with a picture of you on it right now. i wish i didn't have to. everytime addy sees a picture of you she says "keet!" and when i ask her, "where is keith?" she points to the sky. smart girl. i love you bb. wish i could have one more day."
rs

"i love you bb"

"i love you keith"
rs

"Thank you Keith for serving our country. I think of you often, you are greatly missed by so many people. Thank you to you and Robby for standing up to what you believe in. God Bless!"
Lindsay of Fargo, ND

"Thinking of you and your entire family this Memorial Day... Thank you for your service, Keith & Robby."
Kelsey J of Boise, ID

"I love you brother. I can't even begin to believe that this is the 6th memorial day since you've passed. So much has happened, so much I wish you could have shared with me. I love you Keith Lee Smette. You can never be replaced and until the day I die the search for something that feels like your hug or your smile will always come up short. Thank you again for the best years of my life. You are and always will be my best friend."
rs

"You are greatly missed!"
Adrian Cook of Grand Rapids, MN

"Thinking of you this Memorial Day! Thank you for your sacrifice! We're so proud of you and everything you did!"
Meagan of Holloman AFB, NM

"i miss you, i miss your smile. and i still shed a tear every once in a while. and even though its different now, youre still here somehow."

"Rest in Peace, sweet boy.."

"I know you and grandpa prepared a wonderful place for grandma."
rs

"and so was today"
rs

"today was hard"
rs

"i love you so much brother. no matter how busy life becomes or how much time goes by there will never be another moment that will compare to the times we had together. i don't know how i can make it so many days without you in my life. i feel so lost sometimes and then other times life just seems to blur on by. i miss you keith."
robby

"Thinking of the whole Smette family..."
of ND

"I grew up with Keith. He was a town away and I lived in Plaza. We are the same age and since his death I've thought about him often. On January 24th, I had a show -- I did not schedule the show for this date. It was not a big show. I played at a small cafe, but being from a small town that works fine with me. I wrote "Keith's song" about a year ago...I like this song very much and played the song on the 5th anniversary of his death.

I did not write this song to glorify the war, I wrote this song to glorify Keith.

A sound engineer recorded the performance. The song is not a promotion of my music, it is a remembrance and tribute to Keith and condolences to his family.

You can hear the song at:

myspace.com/nabruralfolk

and contact me at:

nabruralfolk@yahoo.com

Nathan"
Nathan Anderson of Albany, CA

"I would give anything to make one more memory with you. Those who have never lost will never understand. 5 years."
rs of al

"Thinking of you and your family today. I know you are watching over them and they think of you all the time. Thank you for serving our country and giving your life so we can live the way we do. THANK YOU! You are greatly missed by so many people."
LO of Fargo, ND

"January 18, 2009
To the family of Sgt. Keith L. Smette:
Keith 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

"Another year that passes without you is a year that did not meet its potential. I love you so much my brother."
rs

"Hey there...i think of you often...i'm proud to be your cousin...Happy belated 30th...i sure miss you like crazy around smette christmas time...its not the same without you...young or old you kept us all smiling...your so loveable...i wish my other 2 boys could've met you...they would have adored you like everyone else...well i just want you to know we miss and love you...always thinking of you...love ya!"
colleen of surrey,nd

"HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEITH! We miss you."
sjs

"Thinking of you and your family today. Happy Birthday Keith!"

"You would have been 30 today and we would have done something special to celebrate. Instead the world is still bouncing and crashing around. Not fair. I love you brother and am so proud of who you were and how you still have an effect on people today."
rs

"i still remember all the tennis balls we lost in the trees from playing home run derby on the farm. i will never forget fishing, hunting, camping out in the yard or any of the other things that you did with me to make my childhood and early adulthood great. thank you for pushing me to give my all and for shaping who i became. i still look up to you and remember all the great things you accomplished in your life. i thank god for giving me a brother like you. you are missed greatly and still consume my thoughts more than ever. i love you keith. so much."
rs

"miss you bro... everyday. thank you for everything, you are my hero, my inspiration. i love you and can't wait until the day i see your smiling face once again"

"It's Goose season.... Honkers are flying low... Will always remember you when I look at them....KTF"

"i love you kls"
rs

"KTF.... RS-KTF."

"i love you keith. i know you are with me as i go through flight school and raise addy. i promise she will know all about her uncle keith. i can see you behind every one of her smiles. i love you brother."
rs

"i miss you more than words. i wish this would end, but everything keeps moving, except this pain i feel for you. i wish i could forget everything for a minute, go back to a reality with you, i would give anything. i love you keith"

"Thinking of you today...."
Laura(Schmidt) Heinle of Miles City, MT

"The Mansion of Heaven

This world however beautiful was never meant to be The place that we would call our home for all eternity
And though we would not choose to leave, a loving God knows best.
And in His time He lifts us to a place of peace and rest. For He has built a mansion where His children will abide. Free from pain and sorrow, forever at His side. He said He'd never leave us to face our trials alone. And though sometimes we fail Him, He never fails His own. And even when our choices are less than He would ask, He knows when human courage is unequal to the task. We cannot judge what happens, though tears and questions start. We only see what's visible--God sees into the heart.....
And though there may be many things that we cannot explain, We can be sure it breaks His heart to see His children's pain. In loving arms He bears us to a quiet place apart
Where He mends the wounded spirit and heals the broken heart
And though these ones we love so much have left our present sight And passsed into a better world of majesty and light. Someday we'll be together in our Father's home above. Where we'll thank Him for His mercy and praise Him for His love.

Author Unknown"
friends who know what it is like to lose a child & sibling of your hometown area M/R, ND

"4 years ago we buried you. echoing your name 3 times was a tough pill to swallow. tonight marks the 5th night we've shared together. the tradition will continue until i am no longer able to walk. see you in a couple hours brother. you're missed."
rs

"Thinking of you and your family today and everyday. You are so many people's hero. You are greatly missed."
of Fargo

"Keith,

You are in my thoughts a lot, especially around this time of year.

Miss you"
Tonya Sigl of Bismarck, ND

"KTF."

"Keith, today is Kenny's birthday and as I left a message for him I was also thinking of you and all that you and Kenny gave for us to have our freedom. I'm looking forward to meeting your parents when they come to Bismarck the end of this month for a presentation to ND families who have lost loved ones. I know that Kenny's brother DuWayne talks to your family a lot. God Bless and keep watching over your family and all of us."
Adi Reis, Ken's mother of Bismarck, ND

"I love you so much brother. Please help me make sense of this world I feel left behind in. You were always the first person I would tell if I was at my happiest or sadest. This is so hard."
rs

"It is very difficult for me to write this but I was there when this occured. That was a horrible day. If I can answer any questions for the family of SSG Hendrickson or SGT Smette. m1gunner2001@yahoo.com They did EVERYTHING correct that day. My deepest condolences for your loss. I will always remember them."
Scott of AZ

"I love you brother. Wish you were here. Nothing is the same."
rs

"everyday brother.. you're always in my heart. i love you."

"Your former teacher at NDSU has not forgotten you. I continue to find examples of your work tucked away in folders. The work of you and your peers (Gretchen et.al.) continue to bring a smile and a tear. You are remembered and missed. j"

"Keith, Ive thought about you all day...Theres not a day goes by that I dont miss the memories we had and the memories we could have had. Earlier this month it was my 21st bday. Wish you could have been there...Do you remember the night when you were home on leave at Johns kitchen table...You said, do ya want a beer...Heck, I was only 17! You couldnt believe it! That night you promised me youd be the first one to buy me a drink on my 21st! We even shook on it. I will never forget that night. You were so sincere. You were so loving. You were just Keith! I want you to know that my fist drink at the bar on the night of my 21st was for you. (But you already know that...you were there...toasting your drink up too) Thank you for the memories. I will forever miss your hugs (you and rob give the best hugs) and miss your loving presence in our lives."
Ashley Smette

"Another year closer to seeing you. My family misses you so much. We love you Keith, Sally"
Sally of Ryder

"4 years... i can't describe it. please just know how much i love you, i love you with all of my heart. i have not been complete since you have been gone. i love you i love you i love you... i love you more than words... i'm so sorry you are gone... even if i know you are happy now... but why... i miss you bb, you made me feel strong, you made me feel sure, secure in such an uncertain world... i love you and dream of the day i see you again. ls"

"Thinking of your family always. You sure made an impact on so many people. I hope you know that Keith. You are missed by so many."
LO of Fargo, ND

"4 years today brother. so much has changed since you left this world. it is still so hard to believe you are gone. i think about you every day and still cry when i think about all the good times we had together. i wish i had one more day with you. my little girl is going to know all about her unce keith and how you had the biggest heart. there is no doubt in my mind that if any one of us could switch places with you we would. this should not have happened to you. such a terrible tragedy to such a great person who had such a caring and loving heart. this is not just a day that your family remembers. i have already had 3 messages this morning from your friends telling me that they will never forget. no one will ever forget. january 24, 2004 was the worst day i could have ever imagined. i would give my health and everything i own to have one more moment with you. i love you so much brother. i can't wait to see you again. thank you for being adalynn's guardian angel."
rs

"wish you could be here with me right now. i promise she will know all about her uncle keith. i love you so much brother"
rs

"Thinking of you Keith. You are missed!"
12/6/07 of ND

"Hey Buddy, shot a Buck two nites ago with the Bow first one since you helped drag Mine out in 2003!
Miss Ya!!"
Love Dad-O

"ktf"

"happy 29th birthday keith. it sure would have been a lot nicer to spend the day with you. i love you and miss you so much. thank you for the best years of my life."
your brother

"4 years ago today you were on leave back home with mom and dad. i wish those days were still here. i miss you and love you more than anything."
rs

"Thank you so much! We will never forget."
Marc Lampert of Grand Forks ND

"Keith - I miss you. Everyday. Life is crazy insane since you left. I try to understand people and try to make sense of the daily routines we go through and I can only think about how it doesn't make any sense. I don't understand so many things in life. KTF."

"the cars continue to pass. the clocks still tick, the leaves still fall...but i still have no idea how my heart is still beating. so lost without you. you were the one person who i turned to in moments of complete joy or unexpected pain. i love you so much."
October 10, 2007 of Washington DC

"keith i can't even begin to tell you how much my life has changed since you left. i would give anything to have you back here with those who love you. you gave me so much in the short time we had together. you were my hero both growing up and in our last years together. you should have had the chance to be a father and to have a family. hunting, fishing and watching tombstone will never be the same. i don't feel as though i am worthy of doing any of it knowing you are not able to do it with me. you were real and you represented all that is good in this life. why did our lives have to change like this? it is something i will never understand. i would give my life for you keith, i just wish i had the chance."
your brother

"I was cleaning out one of my tubs and I ran across my old honker call... I sure miss you Keith. I think my heart breaks just a little each day. I miss you Keith Lee. I miss you so very much and would give anything to see your face."
ktf

"love you so much keith."

"keith please watch over my brother as he takes a new road in his life as a marine. RIP KLS"
nt

"I miss you brother. Thinking of you always. Thank you for today."
rs

"i love you so much keith. wish we had one more day."
robby

"it was so good to be home over memorial day. being home makes me feel even closer to you. it was great to see all of your great friends who were there as well. i love you so much brother. i wish we had just one more day to make another memory. you're my best friend."
rs

"thinking of you... i love you"

"see you on the 28th brother. i love you so much."
rs

"Oh my god. Keith. I just now found out of your death, or I should say selfless sacrifice for my freedom and the other 300 million Americans in this country. My heart aches for you and your family you so often spoke of when I knew you at NDSU (I was a professor in exercise science).

To his family, especially you Rob because he loved his younger bro sooooooo much, I want to leave you with this...

For myself, keith was the bright star in the cold, black sky of Fargo. Whereas I was supposed to be the 'mentor', it was his unwavering and unconditional friendship during my short tenure at NDSU that has made me a much better person. Keith changed my life in ways words cannot describe. But I will try...

That anyone can stand by me when I am right, but keith stood by me even when I had been wrong.

Many friends open conversations with a full news bulletin on their life. Keith, with a great smile, would always start with “Brett, how are you?”

Many friends seek to talk with me about my problems. Keith sought to help me with my problems.

Keith enriched my life by giving me the gift of hope, by being there when I needed a friend, and by giving me a shove in the right direction when I hesitated. Thanks keith for bringing happiness to a heart full of woe!

To his family and friends, please contact me anytime (brett@thefitnessprof.com) if you want to chat.

I will never forget you Keith. You truely were more then a student; you were a friend, now a hero, and soon to be a brother in heaven if I make it through the pearly gates where you are now."
Brett Dolezal ('Doc D' as Keith would say) of Marina Del Rey, CA

"Hey Keith Thinkin about you and Kenny everyday...You guys are missed greatly.. Keep on watching over us..."
DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot,ND

"God bless you. Still thinking of you and your family, every day."
a

"i would be no where without you"
rs

"i love you so much keith lee smette"
robby

"i think of you so much keith. i would give my own life to have you back here with all the people who love you"

"When we were in Iraq, Keith cheered me up so many times. He truly was one in a million and I will never forget him. He could always make me laugh and he loved to joke around. Yet, he was probably the most sensitive and caring guy I've ever met. When we lost our first soldier, Jon Fettig, Keith held my hand along with another friend's and we prayed together. I'll never forget him. I just want you to know that Keith's memory is still in the hearts of many of the people he crossed paths with. I feel that knowing him has helped me look at myself and think of how I can become a better, kinder person. Robby, I never really got a chance to know you well, but I read this site and I'm proud of the work you are doing. Thank you for your continued commitment to finishing what we started. May peace be with you, Doug, Charlotte, Robby and Sarah."
Sara Zoller (Lankford) of Minnetonka, MN

"3 years. 3 years. i do not even know where to begin. time has passed so fast and so slow all at the same time. you've given new meaning to life in so many ways. in so many ways it means more and in so many ways it means much less. it is safe to say life is not what it used to be or what it once seemed to be. i am so proud of you keith for everything you stood for and believed in. many people do not believe we are doing the right thing but they fail to realize not everyone has it as good as we do. it is an honor to have been as close to someone who is so selfless and humble. i cherish the 21 years we had together and consider those years to be the best years of my life. thank you for the memories, thank you for being there to play mario kart with til 3 am on school nights and when you beat special cup 150 cc with yoshi small with no restarts that was quite incredible. thank you for always taking the time to play catch with me and be my pitcher so i could practice my batting. thank you for running after me and more or less saving me when i taped the throttle and couldn't stop jesse's go-cart. thank you for being there during my baseball games. i would always look to see if you made it and i would always try to impress you. thank you for letting me wear your clothes anytime i wanted, i always liked your jeans and tshirts better. thank you for letting me drive your car during prom and for writing me that letter and giving it to me before i left for basic training, you have no idea what that meant to me. there are just so many times i remember being completely happy around you. i remember the last time i saw you like it was yesterday. i thank god everyday for being able to tell you that i loved you one last time. in fact those were my last words to you. thank you keith lee smette, my brother, for the best years of my life and for always looking out for me and keeping me safe. you always went out of your comfort zone for me and always made sure i was taken care of before yourself. how lucky was i? many people have no idea what you have done for this country or for them personally. you continually went out of your way for others and that will always be remembered. there is no doubt in my mind where you are right now. i cannot wait to see you again. you're the best big brother i could ever have asked for. thank you for being you and thank you for always being there."
your brother

"Doug, Char, Sarah and Robby,

May God hold you close as you grieve the third anniversary of Keith's death. I pray that HIS comfort and peace has eased your pain. You continue to be in my thoughts and prayers."
Karen Morlock of Fergus Falls, MN

"Keith,

Like Dwayne said 3 yrs, hard to believe. The only positive I can think of Keith is that for the rest of us its 3 yrs closer to joining you.

The President addressed the Nation last night, He's trying to pull the Country together on the "War on Terror" but each day Americans pull futher back. Thank God we still have Heros like you and Robby who realize We are in for the Fight of Our Lives!
Your Little Brother has worked hard in becoming a True Warrior which I"m sure your aware of, He does it with your Strenght and His Determination!!

Very dissapointed that the Iraqi People don't step up to the Plate, all we heard before the War was how much they wanted their Freedom but now they do nothing to achieve it, maybe their scared or just don"t know any better, hopefully it sinks in pretty soon.

Too many People in this World and this Country are worshiping to a False God or none at all, so the difference between Good and Evil gets clouded over.
But according to the Good Book this is whats suppose to happen, too bad but I guess we can"t have Heaven on Earth.

Anyway, Keith I love you, sorry for my ramblings but Life just isn"t as Fun anymore. It just goes on Day by Day each day closer to You & the Promise Land!

Love Ya
Dad"

"i love you so much my brother. always thinking of you"
rs

"3 yrs since you and Kenny left out lives, seems like forever in someways, feels like yesterday in others.But we always get to come here and be with you guys thru what everyone says about you..And to Doug,Char,Robby and Sara....Thinking about you guys...."
DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot,ND

"To the family of:Keith L. Smette 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"

"i love you big brother. i'm so lucky to have shared my life with you. i was so lucky to play catch with you, stay up til 3 am playing nintendo with you, getting grounded with you, driving too fast with you, crying with you, laughing with you, volunteering with you and what it feels like...dying with you. i love you more than you know. thank you for leaving such a lasting impression on my life. you will never know just how much you've given me. thanks for keeping me strong and helping me through these past few months. i would have failed without you."
your brother of columbus, ga

"your birthday was two days ago....... Kenny Chesney is on the TV right now. This song is tough to listen too, who you'd be today.... I love you Keith. Thank you for Being in my life. KTF."

"28 today! i love you so much keith."

"Hey my Hero, Happy B-Day"

"Keith, thinking of you lots today.Both you and Kenny had an impact on so many people. You guys are awesome..Sure wish you guys are here.Keep on watching over us.."
DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot,ND

"The Goose is Loose!!!!!!!!!"

"Keith, things are taking too long. Is that why this still feels like a bad dream? I get so frustrated I can't take it. Why you? You were with me so long, you were my idol, my rock, you were always there to show you loved me and cared, truly cared. Maybe your life is a lesson to all of us. But right now it is up to us to teach others, and grow from all you taught us. I could never forget you. You are too much a part of me and will be for the rest of my life. Thank you, Keith. Thank you for everything. I want you to know that I love you with all that is in me. The love that you gave, and that everyone shared with you, can never be taken. I try to make it not hurt so bad, but the truth is, there is no other pain like this. I'm not sure anyone could have been prepared for it. Keeping you alive (alive in our sense) within us is perhaps all that we can do. Your love carries us, and gives us strenghth to carry ourselves, even in the worst of times. I know you'd never just leave. Still having you with me, and knowing that one day I will be lucky enough to feel your embrace again, this is what keeps me going. Many things I do in life, it is all for you, and because of you. In life, I have to thank you for helping me every step of the way. And now, these steps are shaky, but I know you haven't just gone and left us here alone. Knowing you are still right there beside me is what makes me continue forward. When I walk alone I reach my hand out and squeeze it as if I can feel your hand holding mine back, to walk with me, and talk with me. Sometimes it feels so real. Until the day we meet agian. I love you."

"love you brother. keep me strong and keep my eyes on the prize during school. i know you will be there to guide me. i love you and miss you so much."
your brother

"To Doug & Charlotte,
I knew Keith well during our time together at NDSU. I am proud to call him my friend and my son, Logan Keith, proudly carries his name on. Logan was born 12/02/04 and my wife and I decided after we received the call about Keith that if we had a boy, Keith would be remembered in this fashion. Please contact me at lawnmowerman@hotmail.com as I wish to share more with you."
Mark Miller of Charlotte, NC

"man this is not real. it can't be. the feeling is something would never wish upon anyone else even if i hated them. how am i even able to breathe? nothing feels right. i want the person who i shared everything with back. i am so lucky my last words to you were i love you"
robby

"i miss you so badly... ktf"

"two and a half years. incredible. incredible how much everything is changed for the worse. where is the person i used to be and feel like? so much was taken when you left. never forget how much you mean to me and how i would give anything for you. help me through these terrible days. help me make the most of whatever days are left. i love you brother"

"We are approaching 2.5 years since that tragic day in January. Many days have passed us since than. I have always thought that overtime, the memories, the moments will not be so intense and so draining. The truth is.. my heart aches in the same way. The moments pop out at me without warning. I was in Bismarck a couple of weekends ago and I saw a Baja truck. All I could do was laugh and I thought I had to call you to let you know... and Than It's like the world crashes down... I pick up the phone and realize that I am not able to call you. This all happens in one single quick moment. Like a flicker of light. It floods me with sadness and happiness and thankfulness and grief - all in one single moment. I love you Keith. KTF."

"i wish i knew some of the answers to the many questions i have within myself right now. when you were here everything was so clear and real. having a hard time finding that same feeling. help me to feel real again."
rs of ny

"i love you so much big brother. thank you for giving us all a reason to celebrate. wish you were here more than anything."
rs

"i miss you so much keith. i wish you were here more than anything.r"
rs

"“We will always remember. We will always be proud. We will always be prepared. So we may always be free.” -Ronald Reagan"
KM of Bismarck

"I love you and miss you terribly......you were a gift from heaven...KTF"

"Keith had the most beautiful, radiant smile of any person I'd ever seen! We were friends at NDSU. I first heard of his death on the news-didn't believe it until they showed his picture. I had moved away after graduating in 2002. Keith died exactly 2 years (same day!)after I lost one of my best friends in a tragic car accident. Later that fall at a football game @ the Fargodome, some student soldiers presented the flag for the Star Spangled Banner, and all we could do (friend Kim also friend of Keith) during the whole thing was cry & think about Keith. He was such a great guy, a sweetheart with an incredible smile... I have a yellow ribbon tied to my car's antenna-my own moving memorial-I put it there in memory of him, my fallen hero, Keith Smette-it will never be removed-like his memory it goes with me everywhere. To Keith's family-remember he is still with you-love is eternal. He was a great friend, with a beautiful smile & I do miss him too. One last thing-a song that may bring you comfort (it worked for me) Josh Groban:To Where You Are. May God Bless You All."
Kari F. of Currently central MN, moving home to Moorhead

"Hey, Keith...you had such a positive effect on all the people you knew...still think about you always."

"hey Smette, its been a while for me to write something on this electronic email . TK came out with another albumn but I'm sure you heard before me . Memomrial Day was another sad and happy day again this year, sad that your gone in body but happy your in the right place and that you live on in spirit in all of us. It was good to see Rob and Sarah and Douglas and Char, but it still felt like it was yesterday. I love you cuz and I always wonder what you would be doing right now, probably telling me how you doug and rob limited out at the parshall bay..HA Smette side could always catch more fish , didn't get enough of the trait I guess ha... my thoughts are with you everyday, and i still call out on you in prayer or at work hoping that you catching whatever I'm saying at the time but I'm sure you are, I'm sure you are keeping a close eye on all of us... and I hope I still make you smile or shake your head at me, I hope you are singing along with me or laughing at me either one will work . I will cherish all the years we had. This world lost somebody very special, you did a brave thing hero,,, talk to you in my prayers
love you so much , cuz JG"

"i love you and miss you more than i can comprehend or express."
rs

"Always thinking of you. Keep a close watch on your family, they need you always, and I know you are doing all that you can."

"i'll be with you under the stars tonight. wouldn't miss it for anything."
rs of makoti, nd

"Dear Keith,

On this Memorial Day I think of You and Your sacrifice. I feel privileged to know you through my sister who served with you. Thank You Keith, Thank You."
Carly T. & Family of Bismarck

"such a confused state of mind i've been left with. i'm not quite sure if everything means more now or much less. it's hard to believe how much someone's world can change without people on the outside even knowing. i hold you within, tell stories of you but if i could have one more memory to tell one more story i would give anything. i love you so much brother. come home and end this nightmare."

"Smette family, you are always in my thoughts and prayers. God bless you Keith. Robby, thank you for all you continue to do."
al of cs, co

"Hey Robby Congrats on your award. Couldnt have went to a better person...I just hope you get to be on Biffles car..Thinking about you and your family every time I think of Kenny and Keith..Keep up the good work..Stop by the next time you r in Minot..."
DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot,ND

"I saw you on the news tonight Robby! You are such a brave soldier to stick through all of this. We are so proud of you, and I know Keith is too! He's watching over you everyday, just remember that. Thinking of you always. Love you."

"Keith - I had another dream about you this morning. I woke up early for work and accidently fell back asleep. The dream was so colorful and happy. I went over to your apartment here in Fargo and you were eating cereal, I am not sure what kind but I remember you slurping up the milk as it dribbled down your chin. We were both talking about how it's been along time since we've seen each other and we agreed that we need to hang out more often starting with a BBQ that evening. For some reason as I left your place, there was a chinese woman who was riding a bicycle outside your place. She fell off her old beater of a bike when I started walking down the sidewalk..... Just as I was getting into my car you popped out the door and yelled across the sidewalk "Hey CHEESE - I love you!" I responded with an "I love you too Keith." Soon after that I woke up and It felt like everything that happened was so very real. I jumped out of bed and was trying to think of what meat I needed to pull out of the frezzzzzzer for our BBQ tonight.... It took me about 20 seconds to realize that it was a dream. The dream was so intense and everything took place in Fargo down where I live by Innovis Hospital. I will never understand the power of these dreams. It was so real. So alive and so accurate (minus the chinese woman, I am not sure how she fits into the picture). I miss you Keith Lee. I miss you more and more everyday. People say that it gets easier over time. I disagree. Losing you will never be easy. I don't believe anything in this world will compare to the heartache of losing you. You were a gift in my life and I will always be Thankful for our friendship, memories, laughs and tears. I miss you KLS.....KTF"

"in oklahoma, i miss you to death. so lost without you."
your brother

"i love you so much keith. thanks for all the guidance you gave me in the short time we had together. i carry you with me all the time. you will never be forgotten and you are missed more than you could even know. i would give anything for one more day. see you in eternity."
rs

"Not a day goes by that I don't think of you and your family. If I could, I would take their pain away. Your footprint on the world will never be forgotten. You are all in my daily prayers. May God Bless you and your wonderful family."
Kiley of Bismarck, ND

"Keith, I did not have anything of yours to stick in Greg Biffles National Guard race car at the race in Vegas. I had Kennys dogtags taped to his dash but I had the opportunity to talk to Greg about you and Kenny, about how much we miss you, how our lives have changed since you have left us...I know he was thinking about you and everyone that has made the ultimate sacrifice for our country...Greg is one awesome guy who does care about every National Guard soldier...Keep on watching over us...We miss you guys so much..."
DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot,ND

"1646,

feel free to email... anytime

thank you for your inspirational words and posting such beautiful things about my brother. i wish that everyone could feel his love.

ssmette_kls@hotmail.com"
sarah smette

"Good. Remarkable. Genuine. Pure. These are words that people use to describe Keith Smette. In my experience, they are extremely accurate. I did not know Keith well, but I can attest to how truly special he was. People like him just don't come around very often. After a conversation with Keith, you walked away feeling so much better...about yourself and the world. That was the effect he had on everyone. He had this natural way about him...you could tell that he accepted you for who you are.

Keith affected more lives on this earth than we realize. He was contagious with eternal optimism. His death affected me in a very personal way, which I really did not expect. If you knew him, and carry him with you in your daily life, you are a better person for it.

Sarah, I have no idea how hard this has been for you and your family, but I feel that Robby has it right. You have to stop fighting sometime, or life is going to pass you by. "Life just isn't life anymore"...you know that is not what Keith would want to see. You have a good heart beating inside your chest. Best go use it.

What did Keith teach the world? One is certainly to accept people for who they are. Everyone has some good in them, and Keith saw that. Figure out who you are, then try to be the best person you can be. Do that, and you will make yourself and Keith truly happy.

..."When I get where I'm going, don't cry for me down here.""
1646

"i love you so much keith. i cannot wait to see you again. you are what is driving me from day to day. you will never be forgotten. rest in peace my hero."
robby

"i think of you and miss you everyday.... until we meet again....

i love you so much"

"hey kls, yeah, i write too much on this site probably. i can't help it. i miss you too much. you're always on my mind, always. everything that is you and that you taught me is within me... these are treasures that i will carry with me forever. watch over your little bro okay? and while daniel is away watch over him too... please, you're the best bb, and i know that what is meant to happen will happen, but... i guess this is the part where we all become adults and leave our childhoods behind, where we all see the harsh reality of life and forever lose the carefree childhoods we once had. life was different then, it was so different that i can hardly remember it, but i truly do remember you. how could i ever forget? i just hope to stay strong the rest of my life... until we meet again... i hope you will be proud and i hope i will make it through this gracefully. i love you bb, i still need you, i never didn't need you. take care of everyone.... mom and dad... your cousins, aunts and uncles, etc... friends.... etc... etc... as best you can and as we need.. i pray you do this, because the loss we feel from you is too much. we miss you so much! what did you think!? that you'd just leave and it'd be okay? no way... no way.... forever, you're in ALL of our hearts... i love you so much bb.... you are truly the best big brother in the world, the best that i could have hoped and asked for. thank you for always being there for me, being understanding, and giving all of the unconditional love that you had... which was overwhelming. i love you. ls"

"love you bb.... give little molly a hug!!!! bs"

"yeah, exactly what robby said.... man, you are the best... i can't even use words to describe how much i have been missing you since you left. i only can think that it won't be long before i see you again.... at least in the grand scheme of things. i miss you bb, i love you so much. you are the absolute best. i hope... a lot of things... just stay with me forever.... i know you will... you'll always be in my heart. i wonder if you're watching the game too!?!?!? i'm not really watching the game, just the commercials and the halftime show, but eh, you know me..... since when did i enjoy watching sports except for the world series with the twins when we were kids... miss you so much bb.... (((HUGS & KISSES)))..... forever... you ls"

"wish you were here to watch the game with me. who would have thought that the steelers would be in the super bowl as a #6 seed. we never did get a chance to go out and have a few beers together since we were both over there when i turned 21. i wish we could have raised families together and brought fold out chairs to our boys' baseball games. i miss you keith, more than you and everyone else could ever know."
rs

"I never met keith in person, but feel like i know him from all the stories and picture i have seen. The stories that Robby has shared makes me realize that in a way i do know keith...through robby because they seem to be so much alike is so many ways. I am here for you always.
I love You Robby."
Nadine Renee of Grand Forks

"i would like to thank everyone who attended keith's funeral 2 years ago today. i want to especially thank the pallbearers. i never thought i would have had to load my brother into the hearse at such a young age. i love you big brother."
your little brother of georgia

"Always thinking of you Robby!"

"You are a true hero, I only wish I could have gotten to know you better. You will never be forgotten."

"i miss you so much, i wish you would just speak to me somehow all of the answers that i seek. i long to know the truth, of all things concerning you and this situation you were in. i love you so much... i understand the past being the past, but it hurts me everyday to wonder... to think that things aren't quite what they seem. i love you so much. i can't tell you enough."
pk

"Keith, I am so proud that I got the chance to know you. It's been over five years since I've seen you but it seems like yesterday. I thank you for making the ultimate sacrifice."
Mindy Kluge of Minneapolis

"To the family of Keith Smette. I know how much you're hurting as my Son Kenny was with Keith two years ago. It is hard to believe that 2 years have gone by and sometimes it seems like yesterday and then it seems like forever. God Bless our Heroes. We know that Keith and Kenny are watching over us."
Adeline Reis of Bismarck

"I am sitting here tonight thinking back two years already. Two years we heard the worst news, news I didn't belive, two years the ugly rollercoaster ride of a falling friend, fallen hero. I don't know really what to say keith that I haven't said all ready in a prayer, in a dream, or under my breath, but I do want to say that I miss you, and I thank you for inspiring me to be better, for us all to be better. To do the right thing in the face of uncertainty or fear. You inspired me to help people and not to be ashamed of being a little goofy. I think back to the fun times we had the talks we had, they weren't ground breaking conversations, talks of girls or movies, or whatever but I miss them Keith, even the 18 hour AHA duty we did on the 4th of july so our troops could have the day off. I don't know how many games of yatzee we played but I think 4 out of 5 games you won. Eventhough it was tough to lose to you that many times I will hold on to that expirence for ever. As I think back I realize how worked up I could get about the littlest thing, and then look over to you, and you were totaly calm saying something to calm me down or to bring a smile on my face, then I would calm down and continue doing whatever it was that I was doing. I thank you for all the things you tought me, how to smile at adversity, to be humble, to be kind to people, you even got me likeing Toby Keith, he isn't bad, not the same though. I know you are ok, I know you are smiling at us wishing we would suck it up and drive on. Well you will have to be patient with us, you had more of an impact on us then you realized. Thanks though for giving us that hope, the hope that you can't really put into words but only feel. The hope that gives you comfort when it seems that there is just craziness all around.When it seems like your back is up against a corner and there is no way out. You gave us that hope that tells us we can get through it, we just need to belive in ourselves, our family, our friends and most of all God, and we can get through it. Thanks Keith Lee Smette for everything. I love ya and I will be seeing ya again someday."
Gilby of Fargo North Dakota

"keith, my bb, you have been on my mind since the day you left us. it's now been 2 years, and i'm surprised at how fast the time has passed. there's so much i want to talk to you about, there's so much in my life that i want to tell you about, there's so much... about you... that i miss and love.

i had such a real dream about you the other night. you were in the old farmhouse, and robby and i were there too and suddenly i realized that you were there, so i grabbed robby and we basically ran to you and attacked you. normally in my dreams for some reason or another you seem to have to go, but this time you were there a long time, seemed like a couple hours. it was amazing. i (or someone else) asked you why you didn't come around more often, and you said "I do, you just can't always see me." that part REALLY stuck out in the dream, more than any other parts, and it was a very long dream.... I'm sure it was a visit from you. i love having them.... i hate waking up though. i miss you so much keith lee.... you'll never know what you meant to me... well, you probably do. but i bet you had no idea how much it would hurt to lose you, i bet you had no idea of how much we would suffer because of your loss. i bet you had no idea of how special you really were... you were also so humble, how could you have known?

well, life is differnt now, life doesn't even feel like life. i would give anything to just feel normal again. i would give anything to have you back. i would give anything.... it's too hard to put a smile on my face most days. most days i'm fighting to stay strong. i'm fighting the tears, i'm fighting the truth of our lives. but robby said something to me tonight that made me realize that there is nothing to fight, the only thing we can do is accept the truth of our situation and try to live with it.

i understand this, and will do my best, for you and for my family. all of my family. i love them all, and i love you keith lee... if i could tell you 5 million times that i loved you, it still wouldn't feel like it was enough. but i know you can feel what is in my heart for you.. and i hope that you accept these feelings and know that i want you with me until the end of time. i love you i love you i love you.

2 years, and life just isn't life anymore. i want to escape it, i want a new one. i want to start over, i want another chance. but here we are. here we are. the only comfort i get is from KNOWING without a single DOUBT that you are doing great, you are doing so wonderful... this gives me peace, and that is all that gives me peace.. i love you keith lee, i'll never forget you. 2 years... it's still tough, so tough.... i just want you back, i want to hear your voice, feel your hug, hear your laugh... just you... all i want is you. sometimes there are things in life that we can't have no matter how much we want then, i guess in a way you've become one of those things..... but i know at the end of my life you will be there, and that is what keeps me going... knowing that in the end, i'll be with you again, and i'll feel your hug, hear your voice, and be with you.

i love you keith lee smette

i love you"
sarah smette

"KTF"

"2 years today. it feels like it's been forever and it feels like it was just yesterday you left. such a weird, unmeaningful, meaningful life this has turned out to be since you've been gone. there isn't a day that goes by i don't thank god for you. you were a blessing brother. it was exactly 2 years ago to the hour you and kenny were getting ready to go on a convoy. you both could have stayed at camp that day, hadn't you volunteered. i want you to know i am so grateful for men like you and kenny. you are what makes this world a place worth living. i love you big brother, i love you more than anything. i am looking forward to seeing you again but until then i will do everything i can to protect the family and people you love the most. every morning when i wake up and put my uniform on, i do it for you. you're the best and i'm thankful for the best guardian angel a person could possibly have."
robert smette of columbus, georgia

"hey bb, jeez, i keep having dreams with you in them but they make no sense at all and i'm so frustrated in my dreams that i don't even notice that you're there. i mean, i know you're there, but i'm not trying to talk to you and freaking out like i normally do..... i am sure you understand what i mean. i can't figure this out, i just want to talk to you again, i want you around again. i wish that life was different. i wish that i still had you. losing you has changed me in so many ways. i wonder if the aching in my heart will ever stop. i wonder if the world will ever be the same as it was. i simply have to wonder.... not a day goes by where i don't think of you. i think of you everyday. i see your pictures and have to look away sometimes because they're too real in a sense... they're too you.... and it hurts too much. it's been almost 2 years now, and i don't really know how to deal with losing you. all i can do is hold strong to my beleifs. i know that you're happy. i KNOW this. that is perhaps the only thing that gets me by. i don't worry about you. you told me in a dream.... "sarah, you shouldn't feel bad for the dead". that didn't make sense to me at the time because it was so soon after you passed, but now it make senese and i understand how right you are... no matter what was here, what you have there is better. and you are not sad. i know this, i know it. if you were sad... maybe you'd be sad in the dreams i have of you, but you never are, you're always happy, and smiling, and you... perfect you. god i miss you. i will miss you until the day i die. how could this be our life now. i can't understand it, i can only try to live it, and it's so hard. but for you my sweet brother, i will do it. i will do it. knowing that you'll be there to meet me at the end is good enough for me to keep going and for me to keep striving for more. i love you so much keith. you are truly my inspiration in life and in living. i love you i love you i love you. ls"

"Keith, just wanted you to know that I think of you and Kenny every day, wishing you were here so I could meet you and see my brother also. Jan 24th is only a few days away and the pain of our loss seems to get worse at this time..Keep an eye out on my brother..You are both HEROS....and you have one awesome family.I turn to your dad once in awhile for comfort in this situation...You guys are awesome..."
DuWayne Hendrickson of Minot,ND

"hey bb, i had a dream last night and in it i was so upset and alone. i was standing i line to order some ice cream of the future (if you can beleive that - those dots things) and they passed by me and wouldn't take my order, then you showed up and said "i'm here" and you brought me over to a bench and just held me while i cried and cried. i guess i feel like that dream represented that you are still with me when i need you around, you are still there to comfort me, you are still HERE with US. i with my whole heart beleive this. i love you so much bb.... i wish that we could meet more than in just dreams, but if this is our only way, i am so thankful for it.... i think i should go now.... but wanted to tell you again how much i love you bb.... you are the absolute BEST.... love ya ls"

"hey bb, just wanted to say hi...

you are still on my mind every single day. i wonder if this will ever change. i hope not, i love to think about you, i love you so much, and i love you for all that you are and all that you were when you were living here with us. i can't beleive how much life has changed. lb said that it feels like the 2nd chapter of his life. i agree with this. this life that we're living now isn't the same one, it's completely different. everything i see is different now, i think of you all the time. when i see geese, i just have to wonder if you're watching them flying with me and if you are in awe of their beauty also.... since you have left us everytime i see a goober it's just... the most beautiful creature i've seen. i can't explain it. i guess becuase they remind me so much of you. jeez. i know..... but i miss you so much. everyday. i wonder how often you can come around. i wonder how much you truly are with us and affect our lives now. i know life is different, and it will never be the same. i can't beleive we have to live the rest of our days without you. i wish that things were different. i wish that i could be with you now, or at least take your place. you had so much to offer to this world. that being said.... in the 25 years you were here you gave more than most people give their entire lives, no matter how long they live. because of this i really wonder if you were supposed to be here for a very long time. i guess in a way i don't think so, but at the same time, i wish that i had known, losing you is the hardest thing i will ever have to go through, i go through it everyday. life does not feel complete. the 2nd chapter of my life doesn't even feel close to what the 1st chapter was. it's so different. it's like seeing the world and learning new things for the first time. but there are so many things that i know, from the 1st chapter, from you, that i will carry with me forever. without you, i would be so different, i would not be anyone close to who i am now, and i think that right now i'm not doing so bad. i think that i'm wiser, and i think that i'm more considerate and caring, all because of you. i realize that i have a lot to work on, concerning love, and concerning bonding and security, but i'll never forget you and the lessons you taught me, i'll never forget your smile, i'll never forget all of your kind words and generosity towards others. you were simply amazing, and the best. i adored you everyday of my life, and i looked up to you so much. i can't even describe it. you were always my rock, you were always there for me, you always reached out to me, even if i didn't accept your hand sometimes.. well, i'm sorry for that, and i hope you understand now.... but you don't know how much it means to me that you cared, and that you understood. you are an angel, and you are.... words cannot describe the love i have for you. i love you so much keith lee. i can't wait until the day comes where we meet again. it will be the best day of my life. dying isn't so bad, espeically now knowing that i have you to look forward to. it no longer scares me, it is... yet another chapter we go through... i just hope that it doesn't take too long, and if it does, i hope that you always come around and see me, and i hope that i will for the rest of my life feel you and your love and understand the things you taught me. i love you keith..... i love you. ls"

"Keith was an amazing person. I still think of him a lot and remember all the fun I had with him. I still remember the first time I met him. Rob and Keith were going to school at UND and got hockey tickets for their buddies Dustin Rensch and Casey Meduna. Dustin and I were becoming close friends through college at NDSU, so he asked Keith to get a ticket for me too. When we got to Grand Forks I remember meeting Keith. He was sincerely nice to me and made me feel welcome. I had a great night with him and Rob. My thoughts and prayers will always be with him and his family. I'm very lucky to have known such a wonderful guy. Thank you Keith"
Gary Glasser of Fargo, ND

"keith lee,
i made it to georgia ok. it was a long drive but i believe my time here will all be worth it. it was not easy to re-enlist after losing you and it was not easy leaving everyone either. i am hoping that this is all part of a bigger plan, a plan that i do not yet know. i miss you so much and just want to switch places with you. for that i would give anything. i will call upon you to guide me while i am far from home. it's never easy leaving even after we both have done this while in the military so many times. i miss how complete my life was when i had you yet at the time i did not know just how great i had it. thank you for sending me new people to fill in the holes that were left when you departed. those holes can never be filled completely, for that i am glad. glad that you made such an impression and lasting effect on my life that i will never forget. i love you keith lee smette. you truly are the rock that holds me together and the light that guides me. help me through the hard times ahead and give me strength to be half the man you were. i love you with all my heart and miss you more than i could ever describe."
rs of georgia

"Keith -

It's 3:28am on the first morning of 2006. I just got back from Grand Forks to see your LB off and bring in the new year with him. We didn't get wild or anything, It was a pretty tame night. I met up with a cousin of yours and it was a great way to send 2005 into the pages of history. I ended up taking a detour towards Mayville and got my car stuck out in the middle of no where. I am not exactly sure why i took that road or why someone else was out there and was kind enough to help push my car out of the little snow and ice that it was hung up on at 2:30 am. I just wanted to tell you I love you and I miss you greatly. KTF.....KTF."

"Keith Lee, you know my thoughts are with you all the time. Every time I hear a Toby Keith song or the new one from Kenny (who you be today). I ask for you guidance while I'm hunting bucks too. I wonder if you and grandpa Oscar are watching us out in the field. I think about us spanking the walleyes out at the Lodge the day of our early bird sale, (6-8-01) you caught 7 of the 13 fish. We miss you here at work too, you and Grilley arguing over that saturday block job comes to mind.
Ashley made me a scrap book of you for Christmas, something I will cherish forever. We have been down to hunt with your Dad quite a bit the last few years, he's a great guide ya know. When I went to see you at the airport the day you flew back to Iraq, it was tough to see you go again, but you reasured us it was the right thing to do, Man I wish your passing was only a bad dream. You made a difference in so many people's lives even at a youg age, I hope to do the same in my life time. I hope you know I love like a brother. I dearly miss spending time with you. We'll be in touch (thoughts, prayers, & memories). We will try to be with your family as much as we can. Love ya bunches, cousin Jeff"
Jeff of North Dakota

"The greatest loss of a loved one is where there are no memories kept. I am so sorry for your loss, my heart aches for you. I am so proud of Keith, I never met him, but wish I had. You are the reason I sleep at peace, thank you.

I stubbled across this webpage because recently my grandfather, Orin Tharaldson of Fosston, MN passed away. As a tribute to his life my Aunt Joann Munter of Fosston, MN put together some family history. The name Smette is mentioned and I did some searching and found this page. I am saddened for your loss, but I thought it was interesting I found this page. Apparently my Great-Great Grandparents Halvor & Randi Smette lived in Buxton, ND. After reading some of the entries I wonder if we are related somewhere down the line. Funny how life leads you into some direction, how the loss of loved ones can open doors you never knew were there. If any of you would like to correspond with me, I'd like to know a little more about Keith. Whether we are related or not, a soliders life should not be forgotten. I am so proud to be an American, and so proud there are others like me. Thank you Keith, you will not be forgotten to me.

sandra.anderson@comcast.net"
Sandra Anderson of Circle Pines, MN

"Keith,

Well, it’s Christmas… I wanted to post something more than what I did. I just wanted you to know again how much I love you. You were and still are the biggest inspiration in my life. Throughout all the things I do, I think of you. I love you so much, and the lessons you taught me in life are so important and so cherished that I could never forget them. I will carry these lessons and you with me until the day I die and can see you again.

Mom and Dad sent me a life saver sweet story book in my stocking this year from Santa. I can still remember the year we didn’t get one and you declared that it wasn’t Christmas without one! You meant nothing bad by it and had no intentions of insulting Mom and Dad, but it was something I remembered, and forever I will think of you when I see a lifesavers sweet story book. If I ever have kids someday I will make sure they all get one, in honor of you, and because… it wouldn’t be Christmas without one! Ha ha, you were such a sweet and funny guy. I know each day that I am BLESSED that you are my brother. I can’t even imagine all the things I would have missed out in during life without you in it. Not to mention all the things you taught me… acceptance, caring, and love towards ALL people.

I do think that your purpose in life was lived here when you were here. I’m now the same age as you and I feel so inadequate in comparison to you. You taught me what life was all about and though you I am still learning. How you did it in 25 years is beyond me. Someone posted that you were touched by God and we all knew it… I can never deny the truth of that statement. You are. You are so special and true and pure. I have never, and will never meet another like you. I know you weren’t perfect, but in the eyes of everyone who knew you, I think that you were. You WANTED to do what was right, always, no matter what the cost. That is something that is so… lost… perhaps? I really don’t know.

But what I do know is this. The people you met will forever be touched by you and your kindness, trueness, and love. The people you knew and were close to you will never forget. I KNOW this to be true. Without you having been here the world would be a much different thing to me (and many others). I never would have experienced the “flavor” of live as I did when you were around. I never would have learned such important lessons as I did from you, I never would have looked past myself and grown because of that… but because of you… you have forever changed me and given me so much that words can never describe.

I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. No one knows this. But through all the things you have given to me I hope to be able to help those in need, and I want everyone to know about you. I want everyone to know what a wonderful, kind, and caring person you were. You led by example, and I don’t want to see that go away. Never. I grew so much through you, and I know that by passing along the stories and the memories of you that you will still be able to help people in this world even though you are no longer here with us… just in spirit.

So far, I have tried to do this, but I’m really unsure of the things I’ve done or not done. I hope that I’ve helped people, and given them love. Because LOVE is what life is really about…. I truly believe this. Love, forgiveness and acceptance of all, despite their beliefs, values, and feelings of things is of most importance. These are all things you have taught me. I want so much to pass these lessons along to others so that they can see the bright light in living as you did despite problems, troubles, etc.

There is so much I want to tell you now, to talk to you about, to have your opinion on…. But I know what you would say still… and this keeps me going.

It’s been almost 2 years now and I still can’t imagine life without you, but here it is. Here it is. And I don’t know what to think. Sometimes I’m angry, sometimes I’m sad, sometimes I just feel numb. But I am happy for you because you are in such a wonderful place right now, a place we could only dream of, and still our dreams would be inadequate. You deserve total happiness… because you gave this to others… including myself. Growing up with you was a gift. I still can’t believe that YOU are my BROTHER. I can’t believe it. I can’t believe how lucky I am, and how lucky I was. I never felt anything other than pure love from you and that is something that is rare. So rare…

Well my sweet Brother, I will end this now as it has gotten rather long.. longer than I intended. But I wanted to tell you MERRY CHRISTMAS, and in this new year I hope to fulfill some of my own dreams. Through the lessons you taught me and your support I know that the future is mine… I can’t wait to see you though. It is so sad to miss you, it is so sad that you’re gone. I wish you could have been around longer, but if this was God’s plan for you, then I can’t argue with it. That doesn’t mean I still don’t look at your pictures everyday and think of you everyday, and that doesn’t mean that I still don’t long for you or cry… I truly can’t wait to see you again. You are what keeps me going.

I love you SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO much BB… forever.

I love you…
Sarah"

"merry xmas bb, i love you, ls"

"keith, i look at your pictures everyday, i can see you in my mind every second. i can't stop missing you. i know you're happy, and in a better place, but i can't stop missing you. i love you so much. i hope that you know that, and that you knew that when you were here. you were my inspiration. i was in awe of everything you did. you were always perfect in my eyes. it's hard to live without you. it's hard to never get a phone call from you, it's hard to think about a future without you in it. there's so much i wish i could talk to you about, but i can't. i don't understand why life turned out as it did. the only thing that brings me comfort is KNOWING without a doubt that YOU are happy. this makes me happy in a sense.... but damn.. i miss you. i love you so much. life is so complicated, so confusing, so difficult... you made it seem so easy even though i know that you had trials and troubles in your life just like the rest of us, but... somehow.... you always seemed to prevail. i wish i had your strength. i wish i had your courage. i wish... a lot of things. god i miss you. how can i live the rest of my life without you? i want you in my life so bad. you are the greatest person i've ever met. i love you so much keith and the lessons you taught me will stay with me forever. i can't wait to see you again. i dream about this everyday. every second. i want you with me. i want to feel your touch again, i want to hug you, i want to comfort you, i want to be there for you.... losing you is the hardest thing i will ever go through, i am sure of this. someday i hope to find the strength to really live again, but you'll always be with me. in my heart, i my mind. always. i love you forever and can never forget."

"i love you keith. it's hard to believe you would have been 27 today. i'm proud of the person you were and for being your brother. you're the best."
rs

"happy birthday bb, i love you
kls - 27"

"all i can think to say tonight is - i miss you..."

"I remember the first time I realized that Keith and Robby were brothers. We were training in FLW, MO, they both kind of teased me because I was probably the last one in the 957 to realize and i don't know why... their chemistry was amazing. I'll never forget Keith's smile, it's like he had such a comforting personality that made him so easy to talk to! I'm so glad that I had gotten the chance to meet Keith and I am thankful for Robby all the time. When I see his pride for his brother and his braveness to make it through each day truely inspires me!! Robby you make me want to be a better person and capture each moment with every peice of my heart! Keith, I miss you and keep you in my heart all the time you are truely a HERO! Robby, I keep you and your family in my prayers...THANK YOU for being you! Your LOVE for your big brother brings tears to my eyes!! GOD BLESS YOU...I LOVE YOU...."
Ashley of Bismarck, ND

"i love you my brother. thanks for always setting such a great example for others to follow. you're everything that is good with life and with this country."
rs

"Keith -

I just went on my first goose hunting trip in years. The last time I had went was years ago with you. There was a little bit missing from the trip. I laid underneath my goose blind and all i could do was think about the past few years of my life. There was plenty of time for reflection. The biggest question that was trudging through my mind was if you really broke my buddha doll back in high school. I know you said BK did it and BK said you broke it. It's funny how that incident will forever creep in my memories. Its moments like those that catch me off gaurd and put me on my heals, put me back in time. There is a Kenny Chesney Song that rings through my heart every time i hear it - I will never understand how some days, it's easy to laugh and smile and other days it's frightening. So much goes on in my life and it feels awkward not being able to share them. I miss you Keith Lee - Thanks for being in my life."
KTF

"Smettes, I know how much Keith meant to your family and to everyone around him. I still continue to think about him everyday. You guys have stayed so strong. Robby, I am proud of you for what you continue to do today. It shows what really means the most to you and what makes you happy. I have never seen anybody who has spent his entire life looking up to his BB as much as you and it's something that nobody will ever take away from you in your heart. He touched your life like nobody else ever will...and he knows it just as much as you do. Stay strong. Love you guys."
LaTasha Schenfisch of Grand Forks, ND

"Robby, my heart is always with you."
AL

"Robby,

Although Keith was only with us 25 years, I believe we got to experiance a Miracle from the Good Lord.

Trough Keiths Goodness, Fun Attitude, Kindness, & Love of Life, we have received many Treasures from him that will never leave us.

Hang in there Robby, we'll get to see Keith again & Live in Peace in a Wonderful place called Heaven"
Dad

"it's 1:23 am. i just got done watching the longest world series game in the history of mlb. i can remember watching the twins back in 1991, sitting in front of the tv, cheering our hearts out for the twins to win. those days are gone but the memories i shared with you will always be stamped in my heart. i love you big brother."

"I can't believe the power that you have, were you really just a man?"

"i'm sorry i wasn't better. thank you for all you taught me, i hope that someday i can be more like you.

the world is too different now. i'm lucky to have experienced the world with you at all, you showed me what it could be, what it is, if we open our hearts to it. maybe it is selfish to want you longer, but i'm sad.. i miss you.

i love you more everyday. keith lee, you're too special for words. i keep dreaming of the day we'll meet again. you're too hard to miss."

"i don't know why i was given more time here than you. i hope that you'll be proud.

you give me hope. you saw the good in the bad, you always saw the light. i know you were scared sometimes, but you were real. you inspired me, you made me feel like i could do anything. you are my inspiration to keep looking ahead to a time when things might start to feel right again. wherever i go, i carry you with me.

i don't think that there could ever be a greater teacher or a greater influence or gift in this world greater than you. you were the one.

i miss you so much. i love you kls."

"i love you keith lee smette. you were a gift."
rs

"going home to go hunting...it'll never be the same without you. i just want to cry when i think about how i'll never have those extra set of eyes with me. you've given me so much advice and you've always been there when things were tough. now my biggest nightmare has come true and the only person i want to turn to is you. i miss you so much, more than you could ever know. if this situation was reversed i know you would feel the same. so much of me is gone, so much that i'll never be able to get back but i still keep you with me everywhere i go. i love you keith lee smette, i love you."
your #1 fan

"i love you keith, you're my hero."

"I stand before you all today
But not one eye can see my way.
My time arrived, to leave this earth
A fact so planned, to every birth.
It happened where I had to go
My torch for life was so aglow.
I transferred while in uniform
Protecting freedom, through a storm.
Should I resent I died for you
Not on my life, red white and blue.
Please help my family through each day
Tell all my friends, try not to stray.
And of the country I did love
Do think of me, through God above.
Your memories, brought forth this day
Send love to us, who could not stay."
al

"God bless you Keith. Thank you for all you did. Robby, you and your family are in my heart every single day. I can't even imagine what you've gone through. I love you and I am so proud of you for being so strong. You are truly an amazing person."
AL of Colorado

"R.I.P. My Hero"
rs of grand forks

"miss you brother"

"Keith - The fall is upon us and the harvest season is underway. Its crazy that time is going by so fast. It's been 18.5 months and not a day goes by where you have not sat in my mind and heart. I really wish i could talk to you, there is alot going on down here and it would be great if you could laugh at my mistakes with me just like old times. I am positive that you would get a kick out of everything. Missing your laugh and smile - ktf"

"I did not know Keith but attended NDSU from 99-04. I remember when I read about his death in the school newspaper and hearing about his death on the news, I was very sad that someone I went to school with and did not even know had died. It even had a bigger effect on me because I am in the North Dakota Air National Guard and served just like Keith, one weekend a month, two weeks a year and in some cases volunteered as much time as I could because I truly love the guard. The thought that Keith volunteered to me was no big shock, it something most part time guard people do, even if they have school commitments, civilian jobs and what not. I was activated during Sept. 11 and dropped out of NDSU and volunteered to be activated for a six month stint after that while still in school. I truly believe it is something guard people just believe in doing and I bet Keith felt the same way, even after reading what his brother wrote about him on this page about being hesitant in volunteering. I type this message today because I know the pain and loss the Smette family feels and his brother Robert, my brother Marine Sgt. Bryan J. Opskar died in Iraq July 23, 2005.

I will never forget that weekend when I came up to Fargo-Moorhead for weekend guard drill from the Twin Cities July 23-24. On Sunday morning at 12:30 A.M. after only being asleep for two hours there was a knock at the door of the house I was staying, it was my dad, mom and aunt followed by two Marines in their dress uniforms coming to inform my brother’s wife that he had died from a road side bomb. I will never forget that moment when I became an only child and lost my older brother.

To the Smette family I would like to say I am very sorry for your loss of Keith and I can only imagine what you have been through and what I am about to go through. It has not even been a month since my brother died and I still do not know how to feel. May Keith’s and Bryan’s memories live on and inspire all the people lives they affected and came in contact with. God bless the Smette family and take care, SSgt. Chris Opskar (Weapons Loader NDANG)"
Chris Opskar of Brooklyn Park, MN

"it's been over 18 months. i love you and miss you more than you know."

"I Love You"

"i miss you so much keith. it is so hard to adjust to life without you. you were always there for me no matter what and i miss that. i can't wait to see you again keith lee. you're my hero and i will never forget my best friend and i will carry you with me everywhere i go. i love you big brother."
rs

"Just wanted to let you know I have been thinking about you and your family Keith. I miss you and love you. Take care Smette's, you are all in my prayers."
CS

"tell me this isn't real...."

"Whose your daddy, Whose your baby, whose your buddy whose yoourrrr man -- A little Moby for you friend! ktf."

"To the cousin I never knew. I'm proud to say you are my cousin, and a hero I never really got to meet. I met u when i was 3, and never got to again. To my family in North Dakota, I miss ya'll and think of ya'll everyday. I love all of you."
meagan of ft worth, texas

"Keith,
Time has passed, but I still have not forgotten....what a different place this world is without you."
LMK of MN

"It is Memorial Day and I want the family of Kieth to know that I think of you every day and I pray. Charlotte, you are the kindest most loving person I have ever met. I cannot imagine your pain but I can share it with you. Your baby is safe with God. I pray for God to send you comfort today. Love and prayers. Mary Schmidt"

"Keith Lee Smette

A smile of goodness
A laugh to lighten your heart
Love to fill all spaces

I love you Keith Lee"

"i love you big brother. i love you."

"Keith, I miss you and I think of you every day. I wish we would of had more time together. I love you."

"To the family of Keith L. Smette:

The Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation will be honoring your loved one at the non-denominational Memorial Day Sunday worship service at 11:00 a.m. on 29 May. We will remember the casualties of the Global War on Terrorism from Minnesota … and the neighboring states of Iowa, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Outside of the historic Fort Snelling Veterans Memorial Chapel will be a “Memorial Garden” filled with white crosses bearing the names of the war dead … including your loved one.

I would like to extend to your family an invitation to honor us with your presence at worship as we pay tribute to the sacrifice made by your service member and family. Our pastor, U.S. Army Chaplain, LTC Kenneth L. Beale, Jr. will preach a message entitled “Remembering Our Freedom.” A former Soldier and country music songwriter and performer “Rockie” will pay a special musical tribute. At the conclusion of the worship hour, all of the congregation will be invited to silently pay their respects at the garden and place poppies at each of the crosses. An honor guard squad will be on hand to fire vollies as the US flag is lowered to half-staff and Taps is played.

As this Christian worship service has traditionally been well attended, we would be happy to reserve seating for you and yours. To do so, kindly call (612/970-7866) and leave a voice message indicating your veterans’ name and the number of persons attending. If you are not able to attend, we pray that you would find comfort in knowing that our prayers are with you and all of the fallen heroes.

Respectfully,
Leila Campbell
Administrative Assistant
Fort Snelling Memorial Chapel Foundation
email:info@fortsnellingmcf.org
web site:www.fortsnellingmcf.org"

"I never met or knew Keith, I came home from school one day to see a memorial pamphlet on the table of a soldier who shared my last name. Actually found Robby through a college website. Found out we were 3rd cousins and that the soldier who that pamphlet was for was his brother. Smette family always keeps in touch with what happens to the relatives and they always keep all of them in their thoughts and prayers. That's what I do for Keith."
Kim Smette of Edmond, OK

"keith
last night i had a dream that you were gone but, unlike most bad dreams, i woke up to an even worse reality. nothing is the same without you. i hate having to fake smiles and laughter. i hate walking by your smiling face hanging up on the wall at the armory. i miss you, more than you know. i hope you know. when i see you again i'm not going to let go of you. i love you bb"
RIP My Hero

"Face,
It's hard to put into words what I'm feeling. I remember the last day we spent together like it was yesterday. Not a day goes by that I don't think of you. The short time we spend together has changed me forever. I have never had a friend that I looked up to like I do to you, I just wish that I had told you. Thank you for the time we spent together. Thank you for always looking after me over there. I love you with all my heart. I told your mom once that, I would have done anything for you, no matter what it might be, because I know you would have done the same for me. I told her that it didn't stop with you, I'm there for your family when ever they need me. I miss you so much, your the best friend I ever had, you're my HERO. As long as I live, I will remember the great person you are. You changed my life forever and in that way you live in me, and all the people you meet along the may and who's hearts you touched. I love you"
DeMoe of Bismarck ND

"Sweetie it is normal to still cry. I know it doesn't make much sense to any of us but please know that you are showing so many people how to live, love and prioritize. Your love for your brother is not what most of us ever get to experience. You, Sarah and Keith are special people, each with the best traits of your mom and dad and we are all lucky to know you. Keith's death, while tragic, makes it clearer for so many people how wonderful heaven must be and how important it is to make each day count here until we get to experience God's comfort. I know that is hard to see right now but Smette's have made and will continue to make a difference in the lives of others. Sweet young man, cry all you need to so you can make space to love like your brother would want you to."

"it's still normal to cry til 3:30am right? it's been almost 15 months now and nothing feels better; nothing feels likes things are getting back to normal. you were always the first person who i'd call if anything exciting, funny, or bad happened in my life. usually you'd be there to go through whatever it was with me. i lost my best friend. you weren't the only one who died that day, they took me with you. i would give anything to have you back, anything. i wish life made sense but i know now that it never will. i love you so much keith. your life has made me realize how much i need to work on my own...."

"Hey keith -- Just wanted to send a little love....Life is still different down, everyday is filled with questions and memories. The state class B was a wild one this year -- emotions ran high, balls bounced funny. MPCG didn't pull through so we'll see what happens next year. We Be Jammin!!!!!!!!!!!!! The summer is coming at us with full steam. Thank you for being a friend and teaching me so much."
KTF - Jack

"Keith Lee, I guess I'll always remember the time when you and Robbie Oscar came to my fathers home in Tn. you both were so young and my sister was so proud and protective of you both. I never got as close to you as an uncle should and for that I am truly sorry. When we came to N.D. for your celebration to be with the Lord myself and my father,your grandfather, had never seen the amount of people. We speak of you daily whether it be me and grandpa or me and my wife Becky or sometimes I just talk with my children about you. You are the hero of my son. He is of the age now to make his decision to go into the Army. He has made this decision and will go in 2006 to follow in the footsteps of a long line of our family that has served this country. You made the ultimate sacrifice and for that,I thank you. Our country is safer because of you. I miss you Keifer, as your mom used to call you, Thank you and Thank God for you. You will always have a place in my families heart as well as your picture on our wall along with our memorial to you here in Cleveland,Tn. Thank you sis for raising such brave boys. You should be nothing but proud as I am sure you are. I envy you and can only hope that all of our children turn out to be as brave as Keith Lee Smette"
James Vaughn of Cleveland,Tn.

"I Love You"
robby

"I don't understand how as the days pass they continue to get easier, yet so much harder at the same time. I'd give anything to have you back. Can't wait to see you brother."

"You were the closest friend I had, or will ever have. There honestly isn't a minute where you're not on my mind. I love you Keith Lee. For one more moment I would give anything."
ROS

"I miss you Keith and I think of you everyday. It was a privledge to know you as a friend and to serve with you."
CP of Bismarck

"Thank-you for serving. Miss you and I love you."
CS

"Charlotte
I still think of you every day and I cry. I pray and I pray."
Mary of Burlington

"i miss you more than you probably know. you're the best big brother. i love you"

"I miss you everyday~ I will love you forever..........."

"kls... i love you"

"Keith
Well buddy I was thinking lots about you this week. I saw Robbie at Duckwitz wedding and memories, boy for the memories. I miss ya a ton.
DJ"
DJ of Bismarck, ND USA

"I never met Keith, but I still feel as though I knew him and had him as a friend. I lived in the dorms with Robby a couple years ago and he and some of the guys would talk about going to see Keith. It was like there was a glow around people when they talked about him. I'll never forget the day I found out that a Smette had been killed in Iraq. My mom had read about it in the newspaper, and she remembered that I had received letters from a Smette who was in Iraq. I found the article and I started crying when I learned that it was Keith, but I also thanked God that it wasn't Robby. I still think about Keith a lot. I have some pictures of him that Robby gave me, and I can't stop smiling when I see how friendly his smile is. He looks so warm and comforting, like the best friend I never got to have. Sometimes I wonder if I am lucky that I didn't meet him because this tragedy would have been even harder on me, but then I think even more and I know that I am deprived for never having the opportunity to know him. But I love hearing stories about him, because the more I hear about him the more I miss him. I read this page- all the stories from Sarah and Robby, and I can just tell how much they love him and you know he's gotta be grinning when he sees how much they love him and how they still think about him everyday. I never got a real hug from Keith, but on days that I feel down I know that when I start to feel better, its because Keith is giving me a hug and offering me his hand to get me back up again.
God bless you Keith, thanks for smiling down on us! God bless you Charlotte, like it was said at the funeral- thank you for giving your son like Mary had to do. The Smette family is a family that is full of dignity and honor, your whole family is admired by many."
Laura Strande of Grand Forks, ND

"I hate to use a cliché when describing someone so important in my life, but Keith really was a brother to me. I have many stories about the guy, but I thought I'd share some that best describe him.

We lived on the same floor spring semester 98 and hung out a bit. The following school year we were roommates (thanks to Mark McCabe), and that's when we became close. He was the first friend to really share his feelings on life, the first to cry in front of me, and the first to console me when I felt just as sad. I grew up hiding my feelings, and he changed that.

The end of that school year, I was in the process of moving out of our dorm (spring 99). It happened to be my birthday. When Keith found out he made it a point that I stay in the dorm while he "ran an errand". He came back with a cake and a big round balloon. I remember thinking how strange this was and how I'd have to add this to the possessions I was hauling back to Barnum. Years since, I've looked back at the people I've met and rarely have I met someone so caring. I'm amazed he went out of his way to make sure I had a good birthday.

He also was good enough to come visit me in the cities while I was on an internship. He and his cousin Jesse both came down and we took in a couple Twins games and some overpriced beers. That weekend we met Jimmy Kleinsasser of the Minnesota Vikings. Keith was extremely excited and all I could mutter was Sioux Suck. Jesse, Keith and I also got a personal tour of downtown Minneapolis that only Jesse and I can appreciate.

His going away party was almost as difficult as his funeral. I had just lost my mom several months before, and all I could say to him was how I didn't want to loose him too. This still saddens me. He comforted me and we promised each other we would get through this.

His death is still difficult to deal with since he was the one I'd turn to all these years. I feel myself hiding my feelings again, and just want his shoulder to cry on. I thank everyone who's been there to help me, but ironically Keith is the only one who could console me when loosing someone so close.

He was the closest friend I've ever made and even though he wont be standing by my side at my wedding, he's got a permanent place inside in my heart. I miss you Keith."
Daniel Filipiak of Fargo, ND

"To the family of Keith Lee Smette,
It is true I did not know Keith all that well. It was the mystery the guy had that made me more fascinated in getting to know him. He had a halo around him, we could all tell he was touched by God.
In times like these we ask ourselves and perhaps God, too, why do we do the things we do while here. This is an interesting concept. We all want world peace, but to have peace we must prepare for war. People such as Keith and Robby who take it upon themselves to do what others do not is all that much more a cause for love and admiration. Love is a word that has so many definitions it is hard to pick just one. But when I talk of the love for Keith and Robby, it's more of a thanks that can't be spoken.
To hold a gun in a foreign country and risk mortal injury is beyond my mental comprehension, so the way I take it is by pieces and understand it before passing over judgement.
But enough of that, I take it upon myself again, to wish Keith godspeed in his new existence, we all know he's doing just darn good job. He's probably feeding the angels fist fulls of cafeteria food. YUM!
We remember him as a son, a brother, a cousin, a love, a friend. But we never forget, and by doing that he will live on FOREVER!!!"
Dustin L Helm of Grand Forks, North Dakota

"Well Keith… what can I say? One year today and I don’t even know how I feel anymore. I’m sad, angry, numb….. but still so happy to have you as my BB. I feel so much pride when it comes to you, I always have. I still feel you around. Thank you for that. I just wish that I could give you a hug and I wish that I would have told you more often just how special you are to me. I feel like maybe you didn’t know, but I looked up to you all my life. You gave me courage and strength in all aspects of my life. I love you BB. Robby wrote about what happened with him the day you died, so I’ll write a little about it too.

Daniel and I had been at work, and we got home around 5pm. We had a couple of messages on our phone, so I listened to them. One of them was from Dad. He didn’t say anything in the message except to call as soon as I got the message. He wasn’t crying, but the tone of his voice was enough for me to know that something was up. So I called him back right away. He told me “We had a bad day here today.” My first thought was of Robby and Keith. I thought that one of them had been hurt and was coming home. But then he said “Keith died”.

I can’t describe the feeling. I hope that I never have to feel something like that again. I don’t think that I could. I felt like everything in my life and in this world was for nothing and the pain felt like it was ripping my heart into shreds. When dad said that I said, “What?”, but I knew what he had said, and all the wind in my body left. After I said that I couldn’t talk, couldn’t breathe, couldn’t stand. I fell to my knees and dropped the phone. Daniel came into the room and he knew that something very bad had happened. He kept asking me what was wrong…. What was wrong… I couldn’t talk, but I finally whispered that Keith had died and I kept trying to tell him to talk to my dad because I couldn’t. He couldn’t understand me at first, but he finally did and told my dad that we’d call him back.

After that I started crying and screaming like a little kid. I was crying to Keith telling him to come back. I asked him to come back over and over again. I can’t even really describe what I felt that day… I still can’t really describe what I feel. Imagine living life with only a part of your heart still here. I suppose it’s something like that. It’s hard to put your whole heart into life when such a large part of it is missing.

I look at his picture everyday and can’t believe that this is our life. I don’t want to live to be as old as Grandma, she’s 89 years old. That would mean I would have 65 more years to wait to see my sweet brothers face and feel his touch again. I feel like we got cheated. I look at my dad and his siblings and it really hurts (though I love them to death) because it reminds me of what Robby and I won’t have. I thank God everyday that my LB is still here though. He gives me a reason to stay strong and to keep going. I love you Robby.

This year has been a tough one. I hope that it gets easier. I’m tired of seeing my family suffering. I feel like we’re all just waiting to see Keith again. We’re doing the best we can, but like I said before… it’s hard to put your whole heart into life when such a large part of it is missing. Maybe someday things won’t be this way, but I can’t imagine it. All I know is that Keith would want us to continue to smile. He loved life so much, and that inspires me to keep going and never give up. I remind myself constantly to do it for him, even if I don’t want to. Someone told me this year “love transcends dimensions”. If anything in this world is true, it is that. Keith’s love was so unique, pure, and beautiful, and it didn’t end when he died, it will continue on and grow stronger forever. Anyone who knew him knew that he was special and knew that he was genuine and would do anything for you.

We were lucky for the 25 years we had with you BB. I would give anything in the world to have just a second more. I can’t wait to see you again. It’s what I look forward to and what I live for. I love you Keith, you’re never out of my mind and heart. I hope that you know exactly what I feel for you because the words just don’t exist for me to tell you myself. I love you."
LS

"Dear Keith,
You will always be remembered. I feel so fortunate to have known you for the time we were in Iraq together. Talking to you or just hanging out always brightened even the most dismal of days over there. Honestly, you have the most caring and kind demeanor of almost anyone I have ever met and yet you were so strong. Sometimes, I just think of some of the things that you did and it brings a smile to my face...like how you purposely would say my last name wrong or how you swore that "Saved by the Bell" was the greatest TV show ever. I remember when you showed me your photo album of pictures from home...you talked so highly of your family and how great your parents were...I only pray that your family can find some comfort someday. Othertimes, I still cry when I think of you because the world lost such a wonderful person that terrible day. You will be in my heart always...it is obvious that you touched so many people in your lifetime. I think you had a way of making people feel special because you just truly cared. God bless your family and please know that we will never forget Keith."
Sara Lankford of Benton, Arkansas

"Requietum in pax pacis mues fraters."
sgt. severance of carson

"January 24, 2004
one year ago today in western iraq, close to the syrian border, my friend and fellow soldier, curtis petrick, and i were working in an old weapons bunker filled with 120mm & 82mm mortars. we spend most of the morning trying to get the 30 iraqis, who were working by our sides, motivated. it was saturday and that meant we had the next day off. we were moving empty crates around when an iraqi man pulled me away from the box. as i stood back he pointed at a white cobra that was
just inches from where i was kneeling. supposedly it was one of the most poisonous snakes in that area. i think one of the first things i said to curtis was, "my brother is so afraid of snakes." that had happened between 9-10am baghdad time. the morning went on and the iraqis wanted to take a break every 5 minutes but curtis and i wouldn't let them. we had been working with this group for about a week and we were beginning to joke with them more and more. they were impressed with our strength since we were carrying about twice the weight they were. the morning was going well and we were moving along
fairly quick when my platoon sgt pulled up in one of our gun humvee's. he walked up and told curtis and i get get in. we grabbed out helmets, vests and guns and jumped in the back. as we drove off i can remember curt and i agreeing that we were probably heading back to the gate to search more iraqis who would be coming to work. searching iraqi workers every morning
was becoming a routine and we were trying to have fun with it since it really wasn't the greatest job to have. we would always ask the iraqis if they had their gun on them or if they left it at home. they couldn't understand us but we asked with smiles on our faces in an attempt to make lemonade out of the lemons that had been thrown at us for 9 months. this
time, however, we were not heading to the gate. a left turn would have took us to the gate but after the humvee took a right i knew we were going back to the bunker we were living in. we both jumped out after we had parked out front and my platoon sgt told us both to come inside. there was someone standing by the singar radio and he handed me the handset. as i
took the handset and saw both my platoon sgt and the other guy walk out my heart sunk. curtis was standing by my side and i muttered, "the is smette", knowing what i was about to hear would change my life forever. my commander was on the other end
and he started by saying, "we had a convoy go out this morning and we had 2 kia's, sgt keith smette and sgt kenny hendrickson.....". i dropped the handset, and started screaming NO! i remember throwing my m249 on the dusty floor and running towards the back of the bunker. curtis caught up to me as i collapsed and fell into one of his bags by his cot. it was just him and i for 15 minutes or better. i was in too much shock to cry but that shock quickly wore off. after a short while crying on the ground with curtis, my plt sgt returned with the rest of the soldiers who were with us. they ran towards me, crying and not knowing what to say. i was now sitting on my cot with the blankest of blank looks in my eyes, nothing made sense and all the things i was once worried about meant nothing. i sat there with some of my fellow soldiers trying to make sense of everything but this time i could do nothing to ease the pain or bring back what had happened. i would have traded my life for his and since that wasn't an option i would have given anything to be home that instant with my family, the family who had not yet known. keith had been killed at approx. 9:30 am baghdad time which is 12:30 am central united states time. my parents were just getting to bed when their son had been taken, not knowing this would be the last night they would ever sleep in comfort again. the next plan of action was to get me home, since we were not actually at a base camp we would have to convoy to the nearest one which was a 45 minute drive. i remember the major, who was in charge of our group, calling to get a blackhawk ready when we arrived at the camp, camp beyers. a convoy was being coordinated by the remaining officers that would leave as soon as everything was in place and ready. the effort that was put forward to get me home was incredible, it's like they all felt the loss and felt my pain. curtis petrick and nate
reierson were with me in the back of the gun humvee and they had told me as we were taking off to not worry and stay low because they had me covered. the ride seemed to take forever and even though they told me to lay low and not to worry i still kept my head up and did my part. i knew keith would have done the same. many thoughts went through my head as the
wind passed through the small holes on my goggles. it blew me away how i was now out on the same roads that had just taken my brother hours earlier. riding in the back of the humvee had been nothing new, it was plated with hardened steel and was used for security and quick reaction reasons. this is where i had spent most of my time while convoying. we arrived at
camp beyers, which was named after a captain who was killed in action, and curtis, nate, and my plt sgt kelly elkin took me into the headquarters building. a chaplain came to me and did everything he could to ease the pain. we talked for what seemed to be hours and this is where the crying became more intense. curtis and nate were both with me through the 4 hours
we had spent at camp byers. the chaplain escorted us back to the mess building where we would wait until the blackhawk arrived. i tried to drink a coke but it just didn't go down. there was a tv in the building that had espn on. the topic was the upcoming superbowl. the last email i had received from keith he had mentioned the superbowl and how he thought it would be a defensive game. he ended that email by saying, "love you bro stay safe and smart." a million thoughts were going through my head, at this time i was wondering when my family would be notified. what would they do? what would be going through their heads? my parents lived their lives for their children, why do they ever have to go through this? i was heartbroken for them and that was all on top of my own broken heart. sitting in that building, which was turned into a dining facility, made me realize that my life wasn't over but the first chapter was. living without the person who i called my best friend was something i was not prepared to do. if it wasn't for my family back home i would have probably thrown in the towel right then. before i could think more, my plt sgt came in and said the chopper was waiting outside. apparently it had flown over but through all the thoughts i did not hear it. curtis would be with me for the remainder of the journey that day. i said my goodbyes to all my friends who i would not see until they returned home and boarded the chopper. i remember being upset because curt and i didn't get to sit next to each other. the rest of the passengers were marines who probably had no idea what was going on. as i was strapping myself in, i heard the gunner yell out to my platoon sgt, "we'll take care of him." moments later we were off, next distination was camp champion, ramadi. the trip seemed to take days but only took an hour or two. i wondered how it all had to come down to this. he had volunteered for iraq, for people he didn't know and for a life nobody would ever want. why did it have to come down to this? this day seemed to me like a small-scale 'saving private ryan', i was being sent home because of my brothers death, because of my beliefs. i remembered talking to him after i had volunteered to join the unit that was being activated. he didn't think he really wanted to because he wanted to wait and see what would happen with our unit. a week or so later i received a phone call and the words
that came through when i answered was "gotta back your brothers play". it was keith quoting a line from our all-time favorite movie "tombstone". he had decided to leave in his last semester of his senior year of college for me. a smile came to my face and we started talking. i was so happy to have him with me, i was scared as hell and having him with me would make life easier. this all went through my head as the blackhawk was taking me home. talk about something coming back to slap you in the face, it seemed like a nightmare but as we approached our landing pad at ramadi i realized it wasn't. keith had been at camp champion for about a month before he had been killed and is was the very place he had left from that same morning. as we landed curtis and i were escorted to the 82nd airborne hq. the command sgt major took me on
a walk and we both sat down and talked about what had happened. he had never met keith and had admitted to never losing someone as close as a brother but he kept me together while i was there, knowing the wait for the next chopper would be very hard on me. more and more soldiers began to come out to where the sgt major and i were talking. it didn't matter what rank i was or what rank they were, for the moment we weren't soldiers fighting 10,000 miles from home, we were just people. once again the wait for the chopper was long, not as long as it seemed though. i don't know why i was so anxious to leave, the irreversible damage had been done. i wanted to run from what i didn't want to believe was true. curtis and i made our way out to the landing pad where we would begin the final leg of our journey back to the camp where the main body of our company was. we loaded the blackhawk and waited for the last checks to take place. the door was open and a captain from the 82nd airborne walked up and put his hand behind my head and hugged me, reminding me that my brother was with me. the captain was an army ranger and so were some of the others on board. as we rose above the city of ramadi i felt completely alone. we landed at fob ridgway approx 15 minutes later, it was dark and the day seemed to 100 hours old. my 1st sgt, commander, LT, and section sgt were there to bring curt and i back to camp. i walked in the door of my tent and i saw my closest friends sitting around my bunk, waiting. nothing was said when they saw me, they all just wrapped their arms around me. i was
exhausted from all the emotional strain but knew the day would not end until i could talk to my parents. keiths good friend, yancey, came in while i was packing my equipment and personal items. he sat next to me and opened his hand. he had keiths id tags. we both cried and couldn't believe what had happened. we shared stories of keith and tried to smile but it didn't work. i went to eat later that night and thats when curtis edwards came in. he had been on guard duty all day and couldn't come see me sooner, he just sat next to me and we cried in the chow hall. keith was a big brother to all of us, he couldn't have been a better one. the day ended late that night around 2am when my commander came into my tent and told me that my family had been notified. it was time to talk to my family for the first time, i was scared to death. what do i say? is there really anything i can say to bring any comfort to them? as i dialed the number i paused and couldn't believe
that this was happening. i always told my parents they didn't have to worry about keith and i because we were too smart to let anything happen...sometimes it doesn't matter how strong you are or how good of a person you are. life has it's way of
taking things when you least expect it, it didn't taste good. my dad answered and i could hear the emptiness in his voice, i didn't say much to them, except that i would be home in a couple days and that we could make sense of everything when i
got home. i assured my mom that keith would get me home safely, he did. i walked back to my tent and when i stepped to my bunk i hit my knees and prayed that god would take care of my brother and family. i didn't expect to sleep well that night but i did."
sgt robert smette

"Keith, not at day goes by that I don't think of you. You were the only person who I ever thought of as a brother. It's been a year, and yet it still seems like yesterday that I saw you.I miss you and kick myself every time I think of the last time I saw you for not hugging you. Your always in my thoughts. I love and miss you."
Lindsey Warner of Grand Forks,ND

"I've never had so much respect for someone I never even had the chance to meet. Thank you for everything."
TN of Grand Forks

"To my hero,
I just wanted to let you know I think about you and your family everyday. You are the definition of hero. You gave all to help others. You love all and that is what life is all about. I miss you Keith Lee. I know you are in a better place but that doesn't mean I can't still miss you! Sending you my love, thoughts, and prayers."
CS of Carrboro, NC

"To the family, friends and soldiers who served with Keith;
As the first anniversay of Keith's death approaches many of us have you in our thoughts and prayers. God bless you and comfort you. Peace"
Bernadette Ternes -NDNG Family Program of Bismarck, ND

"i wish you were here"

"I miss you Keith......."
Jack

"Happy New Year Keith! 2005... wow... miss you... The only New Years kiss that I remember was the one that you gave me. I think it was 1999. We were in the hall in Plaza. Time hit midnight and you came over to me and gave me a big kiss on the lips! You're a nut!! Ha... I love you so much BB. Thank you for everything."
LS

"Love transcends dimensions… Merry Christmas BB… ILY"
LS

"11 months today. christmas isn't the same without you, nothing is. i love you and miss you so much. you're the best big brother."
LB

"Watch over your little brother Keith, he really needs you at this time! I am sure you will do a great job doing so!"

"Keith -- I miss you greatly. Everyday has been filled with memories of the past. Fun ones, sad ones, crazy ones, dumb ones. Life has sure changed since we last met. My time at NDSU is drawing near and all i can think about are the old days. I just can't believe life has turned this way. I still look at my phone and hope it's you calling. So many songs remind me of you. Knowing you and your family has been a blessing in my life. I walk with a humble step, I search with a humble heart and i pray with humble spirits. Thank you keith for being you.
I love you Keith."
KTF ------ Jack of Fargo ND

"hey keith, i just thought i'd say thanks again for always giving me a reason to be proud of my big brother. life has many ups and downs, right now i'm finding myself on the downside but i'm confident you'll turn that around. i thank god for you and for being able to see you that last time like i did. i find myself wondering why you volunteered so much to do what you did, but i just realize it was you and that's how you were. always doing what was right, always putting your welfare second when another was involved. i know you weren't asked to go that day, you voluteered. life was becoming such a routine since we were 9 months in but nothing is routine about Ramadi to Baghdad. we'd done it so much but that time happened to leave us with so many questions. questions about ourselves and questions about why things happen the way they do. i still shake my head and wonder why it had to be so senseless and so quick. you were a gift of so many and whoever took you could never understand how much we loved you and how many wonderful things you brought to this world. sarah told me that you were just too good for this world, too real. that's the only thing that makes sense. looking back it scares me how true that is. it feels like it just hits me in the face square on, almost like i should have seen this coming. christmas break is approaching and i will be going home and spending time at home. this year will be the first christmas in the second chapter of my life. when you were taken a huge piece of me was taken as well but i make up for what is missing with parts of you. i've never wanted something back so much, i'll just have to wait and get it back in a world that actually does matter. i love you big brother...i love you"
Your Little Brother

"December 1, 2004. Happy 26th birthday Keith. I miss you more than you or anyone will ever know. I love you and can't wait to see you again."
Your Little Brother

"- December 1, 1978 - Keith, you are a gift. Thanks for being my big brother, you're perfect. I miss you. Happy Birthday!"
LS

"Happy Birthday Buddy,can't wait too see you again, hear your voice,feel your touch. I love you Keith, someday we'll meet again, can't wait!! Love Dad"
Dad

""Heroes are important and necessary symbols of our hopes and dreams. But they aren't gods. They're flesh and blood like the rest of us. But when the test comes, heroes react in extraordinary ways. Rising above the ordinary, surpassing what would be expected, they never fail to inspire us to dream bigger, reach higher, and endure longer."
-Roger Staubach

Doug, Char, Sarah, and Robby I love you guys.
Keith, I'll greet you with a smile and a bear hug , just as we last met. Love you cuz ,until then ....."
Cuz JG of Surrey, N.D

"keith,
i'm just getting ready to go out to your grave. i remember a year ago today you were home on leave and i was in iraq. life has had us all back against the ropes since you left but there's no doubt in my mind that i'll see you again. i miss you big brother. i'm going deer hunting today and this weekend, why don't you help me out a little. i'm wearing your boots and using your gun....bring me a big one keith."
LB

"With LOVE and HONOR to you BB on Veteran's Day... Thinking of you always..."
LS

"To the Smette family , God Bless you and your family . I only met Keith a few times but new Robby very well . All I can say is you did a great job raising your sons . You should be very proud."
Mike Hegg of Fargo , ND

"Hey Robby Hang in there... Everyday I think of Kenny and Keith..Everyday...@ very special people were lost on Jan 24th 2004....I was at Keith gravesite the other day....It was to unbearable to stay very long. I think of how much our lives have changed since Jan 24th...We sure do miss those guys....Robby u are always welcome at our house...."
DuWayne Hendrickson duwayneh@ndak.net of Minot,ND

"i love you keith. you'll always be my big brother and best friend. i live for you."
LB

"I had the greatest privelage to be friends with SSG. Keith Lee Smette. All you that know him know exactly what i am talking about. He was a mentor to everybody he spoke to, he set the example and did the right thing everytime but he was also a leader and friend to every soldier that served with him. There are 2 most memorable moments that i will never forget about Keith L. Smette. Robby, Keith and I were watching a movie called "RUDY". And Keith was a Notre Dame Fan! We were just sitting there watching it and i just said RUDY SUCKS. As big as he was, he pick me up like i was a pretzel and pinned me down to the ground and start poking me sayin, " WHATS MY FAVORITE CANDY BAR". I never did guess his favorite candy bar. And the other time was at a baseball game. He was always the one that was the stress breaker, when the team was down, he brought them back up. He was a left hand batter, and he went up to that plate with the look of determination but only he wasn't batting left handed anymore, he was trying it right handed. Here came the pitch, #11 swings that bat and the ball was up and going...going and gone. Right down the baseline. That day Keith help me realize that a weakness could be a crutch. The team was losing, he was shouting, LET GO GUYS, WE CAN DO IT! WE CANT GIVE UP NOW! Just doing everything to moditivate the team, he steps up and hits that homerun with a stance he hardly ever practiced with. But Keith never gave up, he kept his chin up high, and always done the job the best he could do. But if he was good at it, he exceeded what he was good at to get better. I am proud of Keith, I wish i could have been in the same location as my brothers. Only few miles up the road and i didn't even get to say hi or a i love you man. But i said at the burial and i said it to Mom and Dad #2 and to Robby and Sarah, but i will say it again. I am proud of you and I love you keith, you and your family are a big part of my life. THANK YOU. God Bless You."
Dustin Enockson of Camp Stanley Korea, United States Army

"i hate not having to ask to wear your clothes anymore, i hate having two paintball guns, two shotguns and two rifles. i hate how the world looks the same but feels so different. i hate this keith, i hate this. thank you for being my best friend and for always being there for me. words cannot express how much i hurt and how much i want you back. i love you big brother, i'll see you again but until then i miss you and i'm living for you."
LB

"missing you..."
LS

"Mr. & Mrs. Smette, Robby, and Sarah,
There really isn't enough space on this message board to remember all of the great things about Keith. Although I knew him only a year, I trusted him, and felt close to him and was deeply sorrowed by his loss. Keith could make anyone laugh, and had such a brilliant personality that my life just isn't the same without. No matter who he met, he made a tremendous impact. Not a day goes by that I don't pray for your family and hope your heartache is softened."
Jennifer Ripka of Apple Valley, Minnesota

"Keith was one of the most caring and wonderful people that I have met. I am so honored to have met him and his brother Robby. They were so inseperable and I could just tell when they were around each other how much Keith cared for his brother and family.
Robby you are one of my best friends and I wish I could take your pain away. You are in my thoughts and prayers everyday.
Keith, I truly believe you are in a better place and I can't wait to see you again in heaven. You are my hero!"
Jessica of Bismarck, ND

"everyday keith, everyday"
your little bro

"I met both of the Smette Soldiers in Iraq and was immediately impressed with their courage and commitment to their cause. The Army is a lesser place with the loss of this great soldier."
just another soldier

"Charlotte, Doug, Robert, and Sarah

Words cannot express how much I want to send comfort to you. To my dear friend, Charlotte; Please know that I love you and I pray for you every day. You told me once that your Angel Keith would bring Laura home and he did. I cannot begin to know the grief you feel. Take comfort in each other and know that you will be with him again someday. In the meantime he watches over you as he has always done.Take care of each other. Keith Smette is our hero."
Mary Schmidt of Burlington, ND

"Mr.& Mrs. Smette, Robby and Sarah
My prayers are with you all. Keith gave the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and I thank him for that. I am proud to say that I had the honor of serving our country with such a wonderful person. Keith, you are a Angel in Heaven and you will always live in our hearts. Thank you for your service and sacrifice. You are my HERO!"
Jenny Hoffman of Bismarck, ND

"keith
there honestly isn't a minute that goes by where i do not think about you. i want to believe that this is all a dream and that you're not gone. it kills me to know that i'll have to live the rest of my life without you there to laugh with, hunt with and raise families with. i would give anything to change places with you but i know you'd never let me. i'm not going to stop living because i know thats the last thing you want me to do but there's just a little less to live for now...i love you big brother"
robby of grand forks, nd

"I love you BB..."
LS of Minot, ND

"While I did not have the privilege of knowing Keith this side of heaven, I feel like I know him from the wonderful stories and memories that have been shared with me. I know that his life and sacrifice for freedom has forever impacted my life. I would like to say these things:

Thank you, Keith for fighting in the war against terrorism and helping set oppressed people free.
Thank you, Keith for living a life that left your footprints on so many hearts.
Thank you, Keith for the love and laughter you brought to so many people of all ages.
Thank you, Keith for living and giving your life for that which you believed in with all your heart.
Thank you, Keith for passing a torch of faith and love that will forever burn bright in the hearts of all who love you!

Finally, the words from the chorus of the song God helped me to write to honor Keith and those who serve our country express my personal gratitude:

“Thank You for freedom, and for those who hear its call.
Thank You for freedom, for the ones who give their all.
We know that freedom isn’t free; the price is high for liberty.
Lord, thank You for freedom, keep those we treasure in Your love.”

THANK YOU KEITH!"
Pastor Jonathan Starks of Ryder, North Dakota

"As I prepared for this Memorial Day for the first time ever I truly reflected on the real meaning of this holiday. Maybe this holds true for a lot of young people as never before have we been faced with losing loved ones to war. Never again will I take this weekend for granted as a "long break" away from work.

I payed tribute to Keith this weekend. I thanked him for the sacrifice he was willing to make for his own country and those in another. I also thanked the people that came and went before him and the ones that are so bravely continuing the work he so proudly carried out.

God Bless you Keith. I will forever live this life trying to be a better person because of you."
Laurie Madison of Minneapolis, MN

"Smette Family,
I didn't not know Keith all that well, but being a friend of Robby's I can imagine how wonderful he was. I hear he was quite a guy, and I wish I could have gotten to know him better. I was very fortunate though to have met him a few times, and I know everytime I met him, he always had a huge smile on his face and was a very caring person. I give credit to both Keith and Robby for serving our country and I am very grateful for the contributions they put forth. You are all in my thoughts and prayers every single day. May God Bless your family as you go through this, but remember you have eachother to lean on as well as many people you may not even know saying a prayer for you everyday. God Bless and Stay strong Smette family!"
Lindsay Olsen of Fargo

"I love and miss you keith."
Eddy of Plaza

"Keith, what a guy. There are no words to discribe Keith. There are so many things that Keith did that made him likeable. His goofy laugh, great sence of humor, his sence of duty and honor, his love of family and friends,and his willingness to do the right thing no matter the cost made me want to be around him, it made everyone want be around him. He is a great person and I am honored that I got to serve side by side with him, and I am honored that I could call him my friend. So in short, "Keith, I love ya and I miss ya"."
Andrew Gilbertson of Minot, North Dakota

"Sergeant Smette, goodbye soldier and thank you. You are my hero."
Bill of Houston, Texas

"Keith Smette was a dear friend of mine, he is someone that changed my life. I am so thankful to him for everything he did for me and this country. I think of him everyday and miss him so much. I belive this was his destiny, and I will see him again someday."
chelsey Stokes of Fargo, ND

"Dear Mr.& Mrs. Smette, Robert & Sarah--
My deepest condolences to you on the loss of your fine and beautiful son Keith. My church organized a Lenten devotion -- each of us have taken the honor of praying especially for one of our fallen heroes in the Iraqi war, and I took your son. Each day, I remember him in my prayers, and you, and ask God to console you and watch over Keith. I'm the president of our community college here, so I feel I know what kind of young man your son was by reading what his professors and fellow students' had to say. Truly we have lost a beautiful young man whose light and love touched those he knew, a young man with great generosity of spirit. I hope you can draw some consolation from knowing what a gift he was to the world, even in such too-short a time, and from knowing that others around the world, including me, mourn with you.
Peace be with you...
Kathy Schatzberg
Cape Cod Community College"
Kathleen Schatzberg of West Barnstable MA

"I never knew Keith personaly Im very sorry to say.I came to learn about Keith through the Toby Keith Fan Club.Keith was a member of the fan club.I was very touch by reading the different post being left about the death of one of our fallen soldier.Everyone that post on Tobys forum seem like they are one big family and we were very sadden by the new of Keiths death.Toby Keith had just released his hit "American Soldier" only two months before Keiths death.I wrote to Keiths sister telling her how sorry we all were for the loss of her brother.She told me of the story of when she last saw Keith.Her and her mother had taken Keith to the airport for him to go back to Iraq after he had been home for a two week visit.After saying their goodbye.Keiths mother and sister were driving home and for the first time they heard the song "American Soldier"by Toby Keith and she told me that her and her mother both cried like babies.Since then I have read more and more about Keith and have learned what a wonderful person he was.I pray for God to comfort the Smette family and I would like for them to know that I will hold the memory of Keith in my heart for the rest of my day here on earth and pray that some day I will have the chance to meet this magnificent man one day for myself in heaven.Please visit this site to see the Toby Keith Fan Club tribute photo that I made for the fan site...

http://home.comcast.net/~zimzip/words/keith.html

***************************************"
Robin Jarnagin of Corinth Ms. USA

"If you imagine the perfect guy, that was Keith. He was funny, smart, caring, a great friend and mentor and just someone you can hang out with. I remember spending time with Keith and I can't help but smile because he made such an impact on not only my life, but everyone he met. It has definitely been difficult on Keith's family and friends, but it is amazing to see how close they are. Keith's mom, dad, brother and sister have such a close bond, it's something that is extremely special. Keith will always keep you guys together and will always be with you. He is watching all of us and I look forward to the day when I get to see his smile and give him a hug. God Bless you Keith, you are truly a hero."
Cory Morlock of Grand Forks, North Dakota

"I don't know what to say that could help ease the pain of losing a brother or son. Keith was proud of what he was doing and I am proud of him for doing it. I looked to him like a big brother and he will be missed by so many."
Dustin Rensch of Fargo, ND

"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, Keith, will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you. Pat & Sandi B from Montana "

"To all who have written, thank you for the generous offers of photographs, quilts, etc.. and thank you so much for the prayers and support. Keith is a wonderful soldier, brother, son, and friend. He has a heart of gold and was always looking to help those less fortunate than himself. He really wanted to help the people of Iraq and he did with great courage, bravery, and most importantly, LOVE. For as long as I can remember I have always been proud of my big brother Keith and my little brother Robby. The National Guard unit they were in was not deployed to Iraq, a different one in the state was and they both felt it in their hearts to go so they could help make a difference in this world. So they volunteered. Keith is in a better place now, he's in Heaven. And he is with Jesus. There are no tears in Heaven and no more pain. I know in my heart that Keith is doing wonderful things in Heaven just as he did on Earth. My dad told me that Keith is not sad because Heaven is such a wonderful place and he knows that we'll all be there with him someday. I could never describe the pain of losing a brother but knowing that Keith is in Heaven, and safe, gives me comfort. God Bless you Keith. We love you."
Sarah Smette of Makoti, ND

"Knowing your daugher, I know what kind of family you have raised Mr. and Mrs. Smette. I know that your son was proud of his service. He was also, I am sure, proud of his parents and family. You will be in my prayers."
Nathanael Fatula of Searcy, AR

"May you find comfort in knowing how many people share your sadness and loss. Thanks Sgt. Smette for fighting for our freedom. You are a TRUE HERO! Our thoughts and prayers are with your family. We Will NEVER FORGET!"
The Grogan Family (USMC) of Lakeland, TN

"Sgt. Smette:
Thank your for giving yourself so that those of us at home can live freely. There are not enough 'thank yous' for a gift such as this. Rest in peace soldier"
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"Thank you Keith Smette, 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. Keith Smette:
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 Keith 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. Keith Smette:
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 Keith, 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