Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom

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

Army Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim

22, of Magnolia, Mississippi.
Rahaim died in Forward Operating Base Iskandariyah, Iraq, when a roadway collapsed, causing his vehicle to roll over. He was assigned to the Army National Guard's 1st Battalion, 155th Infantry Regiment (Mechanized), McComb, Mississippi. Died on February 16, 2005.

Please send information, photos, and corrections for Army Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim.


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"I am reading this and fighting back tears. My son returned from Iraq safely, and then returned from Afghanistan safely, and I remember every day he was away. I wish that every single soldier had been able to return home to the arms of their loved ones, their friends, their comrades. I hate war. I hate the loss that comes from it. Here it is, 2011, and this fallen soldier is not forgotten. So young. What a great cross these children bear for us. Our debt can never be repaid. Love you, kid; even though I never knew you, and I carry in my heart your memory and prayers for you and those you left behind."
Kathy of Rio Rancho, NM (USA)

"Re: SPC Joseph A Rahaim

I represent PRAYER SHAWLS 4 FALLEN SOLDIERS (PS4FS), an organization that since October 2007 has sent over 2,800 prayer shawls to military families who have lost a loved one. We are an organization of over 240 groups from all over the country. We make every effort to reach families even when post cards are returned after they have moved. Would you kindly send me a contact email/address so that we may send a loving hand-made prayer shawl to the family? Thank you!

Cozette Haggerty, Prayer Shawls 4 Fallen Soldiers
Email: ps4fs@charter.net
Website Address: http://webpages.charter.net/ps4fs/shawls"
Cozette Haggerty of Wilbraham, Mass.

"We love you, Drew. 4 years is too long...we miss you so very much. You are never forgotten...NEVER. You are and always will be a part of our family and of course, forever in our hearts. Our son knows you as his guardian angel, and he will one day know you as his hero when he is able to understand what you did for him and our country. We will always tell your stories...that's what keeps you so alive in our hearts. Keep watching over us...we know you are, friend. Heaven is an even more beautiful place because you are in it. God bless you, Drew Rahaim."
Mark & Kandice of MS

"February 5, 2009
To the family of Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim:
Joseph 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"
Peggy Childers of Carson City, NV

"Drew, on behalf of my son and my family, thank you for serving our
country. You gave up your tomorrows for our todays, and we can never
repay you for our freedom...but we will spend our lifetime remembering
your service...and most of all, remembering YOU.

Never forgotten, Drew...that's a promise.

Happy Veterans Day, dear brother who we miss so much.

My family loves you always!"
Kandice of MS

These words do not come easy for me. The last time I saw you I was underwater pulling you out of your HMMWV, hoping and praying that there was a chance We could save you. I was your Platoon Leader at the time and remember feeling ashamed and regretful. I felt this way because I let you down. I told you that I would bring you home and I failed you, your friends and your family. For that, I will always remember you for teaching me some of the hardest lessons ever learned in my life.

I will always remember you as being the confident, athletic, comedian that could instantly make anybody laugh. I enjoyed the short time we had together, even the late night "OP's" that we were able to go on together. I will always remember you Drew as I look at your picture every day on my desk.

My biggest regret is that I was not able to tell parents how devastated we all were to lose a member of our family and how we could not even begin to know the pain and sorrow that they were in.

Drew you were an amazing and gifted person and a friend to many. It is a great privilege to have been touched by your personality and to call you my friend. I will miss you always.

Your Friend,
Sean Penaranda"
CPT Sean Penaranda of San Antonio, TX

"3 years today, and not a day goes by that we don't remember you. We love you, Drew."
Mark & Kandice of MS

"2 years later...

In the absence of man is to be in the presence of GOD!

We know you're in the presence of GOD and that's what makes us so proud of you, Drew. We miss you, but rejoice knowing you're in heaven. Well done.

Mark & Kandice"

"On this Veteran's Day...All gave some and some gave all...I'm proud of you, Drew, who gave ALL. There is No Greater Love..."
Proud Friend of Drew's

"We Won't Forget! Thank You, SGT Rahaim!

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called "Monday Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column...
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts as many st! ars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera is no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone! bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietnamese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world..

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him! .
A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve media attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has devolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.
By Ben Stein"
of USA

"To the family of:Joseph A. Rahaim 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"

"As Memorial Day approaches, We Remember YOU and your sacrifice, as we remember the sacrifices of all our fallen heroes. We won't forget! Thank you."
A Proud American Because of Soldiers Like YOU of USA

"Hey Drew, I hate that we never met, especially since I have met so many that love you and miss you so much. I wanted to thank you for your dedication to our country and fellow comrade's. I have attended several ceremonies honoring our fallen, including you. My husband, Lt Boler accepted a plaque in your honor to place in the armory in Mendenhall. You will never be forgotten. Your love continues to live on through others and it shows. Take care Soldier, and continue to be an angel for those that love you!"
Jennifer Boler, wife of Lt John Boler, A-Co 1-155 IN BN of Jackson, MS

I went down to Hattiesburg this past weekend, and I never realized it would be so sad. It was the first time I have gone down there since the 155th left for Iraq, and I could not help but think of the last time I saw you. It was right before you left to go over seas and I had been drug into yalls barracks and as always you were glued infront of the tv playing a game and I didnt notice you sitting behind me and I heard "hey buddy, you wanna play" and of course I couldn't play because I wasn't supposed to be in there :) ! Drew, it was then that i reached down and huged you and told you that I was going to miss you. Buddy, if I would have known that, that was going to be the last time I ever huged you I would have never let go and I would have sat and played that game with you forever, like you wanted me to.
Drew, I know that this was your wish, and sometimes I wonder why, but I have to remind myself of the military MAN you were, and come to think of it, it does not suprise me now when I think of the day at Mendenahall when I held you and Blake and I looked at both of yall and said " Yall stick together and both of you bring each other back to me" and Drew, you just looked at me with the biggest smile on your face and you and Blake looked at each other and said "I will"!
Drew, there is no doubt in my mind that after you left for Heaven you helped guide all of your friends home from Iraq, and I will be forever greatful, I just wish you could have come home to. I miss you more and more every day! I love you Buddy, and I can not wait to see you again, but untill then: Keep looking out for me and being that special guardian angel that you are to me! I will love you and remember you FOREVER!
God Bless you Drew!
I love you!"
~ Your Buddy that loves you very much~ Katie Roebuck of Clinton, Ms

"A special website has been created for loved ones of Drew Rahaim. It is a website to honor him and remember him any time you want to post a message. It includes pictures and priceless Drew stories. Please contact kandicerowe@yahoo.com if you would like to be added. Thank you."
Drew's Friends of MS, TX, TN, GA

Hey buddy! You know I can not believe ( and I dont want to believe) that it has been a year since you have been gone. My mind chooses not to see you as "gone" but the pain in my heart lets me know that you are. Drew, I am sorry that I am just now writing you, I just could never bring myself to write about the day you died! Drew, that is a day that I would give anything to take back, I miss you so much Drew! You always knew just what to say to make me laugh. The day I got that phone call a huge piece of my heart broke, and I will never get it back. I would give anything to have you back but I know you are so much happier where you are!
Drew, I know you go through everyday with me because i notice that when times get tough I look up at the sky and see that its Infantry blue and I know thats you looking down upon me! You will never know how much I charished you and our friendship. I miss it more and more everyday (especially when I have no one to rap ice ice baby with :) )
Drew, I am coming to see you next month, In a way I am excited but in a way I dont want to see you like that, but I know you would want me to come see you and for that reason I am! Drew, I know that you are having so much fun in Heaven, and I can not wait to join you some day but untill then keep looking down on me and being my very special gaurdian angel! I miss you so much, and Drew, YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN and we will always be greatful to you for what you have done!
****I love you buddy!****"
Katie Roebuck of Clinton,Ms

"Hey Drew, its been over a year and look how many people think of you everyday. You will never be forgotton. You are one of my heroes."
John Cockrell of 436 AeroMedical Dental SQ Dover AFB

Even though it's been a year since you left "our" world, there hasn't been a day that the memory of you hasn't crossed certain people's minds. For some this has brought a smile while others still struggle to make sense of your departure which brings forth the tears. But one thing is for certain, you left many behind that will always honor your memory with a great deal of love and pride just having known you as a friend! Kandice and Mark are among these special ones, and their hearts are heavy today as they reflect on their memories of you and times spent sharing. I pray that God gives them strength to move forward as they carry your memory close to their hearts today. As someone who has grown to love you "through their eyes", I wish to take a moment to say thank-you for keeping your promise to see Mark home safely to his wife and family. There is no doubt in my mind that you were instrumental in helping him through some of the tougher moments while in Iraq! Again.....I thank you! You served us all well Drew, and I want to leave you with one of my favorite quotes by Helen Keller, which goes like this. " The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart." One of those precious things in "our" hearts is YOU!
"In Loving Memory of Drew""
Laura Lewis of Terry, MS

"Drew, today has been an emotionally exhausting day. Mark and I are just getting home tonight from Ft.Benning where we spent our day with you. Of course it wasn't a day we would have wanted to spend with you...and we could have definitely done things different if life were different. Nonetheless, there was nowhere else we wanted to be today than with you. It was a beautiful day...the brightest Infantry blue sky yet...I know you were with us...I know you were glad we came. When we showed up, we were met by your mom and aunt. They were so touched that we came, and we told them it wasn't an option...we were going to spend it with you. They had been there a while, so they let us have some one on one time with you ourselves. So, Mark and I sat down...and I know you know everything we talked about. :o) It was definitely bittersweet...but Mark kept reminding me that the day you woke up with Jesus was the greatest day of your life...and no matter how bad we want you back here...you wouldn't come back for anything. You're right where you are supposed to be...and we are so proud of that. I left you an Infantry blue gerber daisy (your favorite color, my favorite flower)...and I know you can see it from heaven. As we were leaving and telling your mom and aunt goodbye...your aunt told me "I believe you made Drew's day today"...with tears in my eyes once again...all I could say was "thank you." So, Drew, as we lay our heads down tonight and sleep...our thoughts will still be with you. We remember your sacrifice, your dedication to our country...but we remember your friendship...you were and always will be a brother to Mark and I thank you for loving us enough to call us your family. Thank you, Drew, for sharing your life with us. We won't forget you...ever. We just really miss you...

Love Always,
Mark and Kandice Rowe"
Drew's Rowe Family of Byram, MS

I cant believe it has already been a year since I received that terrible phone call telling me that you had been killed. I know you are in a better place but call me selfish, I wish so much that you were here with your friends and family. Mark and Kandice are on there way home from Fort Benning were they went today to remember you. I didnt make it this trip but I will be back to visit you again soon. I spent most of the day remembering different things about you, silly stories, silly gestures you like to do, but mostly what a wonderful person you were. Drew, again thank you for what you did for your country. I miss you!"
Farah Jessop of Ridgeland, MS

Today marks a year of you being gone. I just wanted to tell you THANKS for bring my brother-n-law home SAFE. I new you were with him the whole time. We sure do miss you here especially Kandice and Mark. Thanks for being a awesome friend."
Kristin of Byram, Ms

I can't believe today has already come. It marks one year but I swear it was just yesterday. I have thought about you non stop today, which wasn't very good when I was supposed to be paying attention to lecture. Anyways I was thinking today that people always say that it gets better with time, but I'm not so sure they're right. Sure I may run out of tears to cry or people who knew you, but it still feels the same as the first day, my heart is still broken. I suppose it always will be no matter what comes and goes you'll always have that part of my heart. I'll try to be happy for you on the anniversary of you meeting your savior but I am a little selfish in still wishing you could be here. Today I will listen to songs reminding me of you, watch the video of you, and look at pictures of you, not to mourn your death but to remember your life. I know your as happy as you could possibly be today and that is what will keep me smiling. You are and always will be my hero, can't wait to see you again.
-With Love-"
Mary Espin of Huntsville, TX

Happy Birthday, I missed you a lot today. We went out to your favorite restaurant and ordered your famous lemonade, but it will never be the same without you. We talked a lot about you and you'd be proud of me cause I didn't cry, so far so good. I had the chance to tell some people about you today, they saw the shirt I had on and asked about you. They always say, "Oh, he's cute", and I always smile cause i know you'd eat it up. My brother reminds me of you more and more, ya'll would have been great friends. He's got that fighting spirit just like you and the other day when I mentioned you he said he wished you were here too, cause if you were he wouldn't be bored, and I thought how true. Ya'll only met for two weeks while he was on leave that one Christmas but ya'll were just a like. Anyways, I wish you were here but know your happier there. Love you and miss you,"
Mary Espin of Huntsville, TX

"Hey buddy,
First off, let me start off by saying HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Today you would have been 23! Drew, I am only human so of course I am saddened that you are not here with us today, but I have to stop and think about the fact that this is probably the best birthday you have ever had ,you get to spend your 23rd birthday with the one who created you! HOW AWESOME! I love you Drew, and I want you to know that you will never be forgotten. You were an amazing person, full of life, energy, and laughter. No matter how far life takes me you will ALWAYS go with me! I will never let you be forgotten! I love you Drew, HAPPY BIRTHDAY BUDDY!"

"Happy Birthday, Drew. Today you would be 23 years old, and I know if you were here we would be celebrating with you tonight. We probably would have you a really cool gift from the Bass Pro Shop, probably a duck call or two...then we would take you out to dinner at any restaurant you chose... Even though, we would have to tell Farah you were 24...hahaha....and Erin and I would have probably sang Happy Birthday to you in the restaurant...and you and Mark would be making remarks to each other that only you two would understand...and I bet Mary and her sister would have drove up from Texas to celebrate too! It would have been awesome! A fun night with your friends that you truly loved and would have wanted to spend your birthday with. Instead, we think about you today, and we are sad. Sad, because we want to celebrate this day with you...we want to buy you duck calls...but we know you are definitely not sad...we know you are having a blast celebrating your birthday in heaven. There is no tellin' what you are up to today! Whatever it is you are doing...we know you wouldn't want to be anywhere else. We find peace in knowing you are at peace...we find happiness in knowing that you are extremely happy right now...we find comfort today because we know you are smiling down from that great, big, beautiful blue sky from above. Drew, things aren't easy down here yet...and I don't believe they will be for a long time. We think about you every day and wish we could turn back the hands of time. However, God's plans are perfect...and we will never understand how perfect His timing is as well. We just trust Him, and thank God that we will all be reunited again...and what a day that will be! We will have tons to talk about, I'm sure! Until that awesome day, we will press on...we will live our lives, because we know that's what you would want us to do. We will take you with us, and we will continue telling your stories...our memories. We miss you, Drew. We know you know that. We celebrate today in thanking God that 23 years ago...he blessed this world with YOU! He gave us a friend that we will remember and love for a lifetime...because you were a lifetime kind of friend. One we will cherish forever. When we have children one day, they will know your story...you will always live on in our lives. No one can replace you...no one can take our moments that we shared with you...and no one will love you as much as we do.

Mark and Kandice <><
* John 11:25-26
Jesus said, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will LIVE, even though he dies; and whoever LIVES and believes in me will NEVER DIE.Do you believe this?"

Thank you , Lord, for Drew and everything he still means to us. We know because of you, Lord, he LIVES!
Your Rowe Family of Byram, MS

"It is the VETERAN, not the preacher,
who has given us freedom of religion.

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

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

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

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

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

It is the VETERAN,
who salutes the Flag,

It is the veteran,
who serves under the Flag,



"Hey Buddy,
Today is one of those days that I would give anything just to hear your voice again! I miss your kind heart and joking spirit and everything else that made you the amazing person you were! I know your looking down on me wishing that I wouldnt shed these tears but like I've told you before, I cant help but shed them! I know your in my heart and carrying me through each new day. Heaven got a WONDERFUL gift the day you arrived! I wish I could have been there to hear the angels rejoice when you arrived! I know you are keeping them laughing just like you kept us laughing all the time! I know I tell you this all the time but I never want you to forget that you will ALWAYS be in my heart and I will carry you with me untill the day I see you again! What a WONDERFUL day that will be! I love you Drew and I always will. I want you to know that I pray for peace and comfort for Erin, and the rest of your family! I know they miss you! Drew ...We all miss you, but we all know that God had a different plan than what we all did! I just want you to know that you are the BEST gaurdian angel anyone could ever ask for! and since I cant anymore, will you please keep an extra eye on Blake and keep him safe! Drew, I miss you so much! I am going to go for now but I will be talking to you later! I love you buddy!"
YOUR "BUDDY"- KATIE ROEBUCK of clinton, ms

""Drew by now most of the 1-155 is home, and I can not help but feel pain in my heart. Not because these guys have made it home but because you didnt! I know you havent left us because I still feel you! I know you watched over each and every single solider you were close to while they were still in Iraq. THANK YOU FOR BRINGING THEM HOME, I JUST WISH YOU WERE HOME WITH THEM, but I know God had a different plan instore for you. Drew, its getting close to your birthday and the one year mark and there seems to be more pain than usual in my heart!! I would give ANYTHING to see you again and I cannot wait for the day I do get to see you ! You will never be forgotten Drew, you were and still are an AMAZING person and I feel so lucky to have known you and been close to you, I feel like I was made better because I knew you! Drew I will always carry you in my heart,and I will always love you. Drew, this country will never be able to repay you for what you have done, you are a hero to us ALL! Drew, I love you and always will! I'm going to go now but I will talk to you again later! I love you Drew!"
Drew, Keep being my special Angel, I love you and miss you so much it hurts!
Katie Roebuck"
of clinton,ms


The soldier stood and faced God,
Which must always come to pass.
He hoped his shoes were shining,
Just as brightly as his brass.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
How shall I deal with you?
Have you always turned the other cheek?
To My Church have you been true?"

The soldier squared his shoulders and said,
"No, Lord, I guess I ain't.
Because those of us who carry guns,
Can't always be a saint.

I've had to work most Sundays,
And at times my talk was tough.
And sometimes I've been violent,
Because the world is awfully rough.

But, I never took a penny,
That wasn't mine to keep...
Though I worked a lot of overtime,
When the bills got just too steep.

And I never passed a cry for help,
Though at times I shook with fear.
And sometimes, God, forgive me,
I've wept unmanly tears.

I know I don't deserve a place,
Among the people here.
They never wanted me around,
Except to calm their fears.

If you've a place for me here, Lord,
It needn't be so grand.
I never expected or had too much,
But if you don't, I'll understand."

There was a silence all around the throne,
Where the saints had often trod.
As the soldier waited quietly,
For the judgment of his God.

"Step forward now, you soldier,
You've borne your burdens well.
Walk peacefully on Heaven's streets,
You've done your time in Hell.""
Sgt. Ross of Mississippi

"Drew, I am about to leave my house to pick up Mark from Camp Shelby! He's home, Drew! You did it! You kept your promise and brought him home! I will never be able to say thank you enough, but I will spend my life trying! I feel like I'm picking you up today too because I know you go with us...in our hearts for always. We love you, Drew...I know I say that a lot...but you know I mean it a lot. Always stay with us, Drew...Ok...I'm going to go get our soldier now. Talk to you soon...

Love, your sister-in-law,
Kandice <><"
SGT Rowe's Wife of Byram, MS

During this Holiday Season one thing is certain.....Drew is ever present in our hearts and minds each and every day! Your presence is felt just as strong today as it was months ago and that has to be because of the impact you made on so many lives before and during your time in Iraq. Your promise to keep Mark safe and to bring him home to Kandice has almost arrived and for that we are eternally grateful. No doubt Mark has been able to endure the really tough moments because of his desire to make you proud and to hold up his end of the bargain you two made with one another starting out with this mission in Iraq. I know you are smiling down on him now as he prepares to return home to us and as stated earlier in a message from his wife, Kandice, you too will be coming home in his heart to stay. Thanks for being such a loyal and good friend to him and as always our heartfelt gratitude for all you did to ensure our freedom today! To say your an amazing soldier is stating it mildly in my eyes, you are an amazing person to all that knew you and your memory will live on as we continue to reflect on days gone by. Continue to keep us all here safe in your arms in heaven and we will continue to keep you alive in our hearts here on earth!
Happy Holidays Drew!
Laura Lewis (Kandice's Mom and Mark's #2 Mom)"
Laura Lewis of Terry,MS

"In Loving Memory of Our Brother and Best Friend, SGT Drew Rahaim...

We thought of you with love today ,
but that is nothing new,
We thought about you yesterday,
and the day before that too.
We think of you in silence
we often speak your name.
All we have now are memories
and your picture in a frame.
You memory is our keepsake
with which we will never part.
God has you in his keeping,
We have you in our hearts.
We shed a tear for
what might have been,
A million times we've cried
if love alone could have saved you.
You never would have died.
In life we loved you dearly.
In death we love you still.
In our hearts you hold a place.
no one could ever fill.
It broke our hearts to lose
you but you didn't go alone for
a part of us went with
you the day God took you home!"

Drew, I told you we would love you forever, and I mean that still today. I know that as the days approach to Mark coming home, you will be coming home again too. You told Mark that you would make sure he came home to me, and you have kept your promise this whole year through. I could not thank you enough, but I will spend the rest of my life thanking God for you! As Mark steps off that bus, I know you step off with him because you never left his side. You were assigned to his heart, and I know he will always have you there. Thank you, Drew. Thank you for the son you are to Cheryl and Don...the brother you are to Erin...the loved one you are to Mary and her family and the loved one you are to our family...the precious friend you are to Farah and me...and the brother and best friend you are to Mark...but also the soldier that you still are to so many of us that will never forget you. You are the most amazing hero I have ever known. Your family will never forget you, our families will never forget you, and this country will never forget you and your selfless sacrifice for our freedom. One last thing as I go for now, every time I look at the sky...I think it must be more blue than ever before...is that because there is a fine Infantryman soldier up there reminding Jesus why he painted the sky blue in the first place? Because God loves the Infantry best!! That's Right! :o)

Merry Christmas, Drew. We love you.

-Kandice <><"
SGT Rowe's Wife of Byram, MS

It was 10 months ago today that you left us for a greater place. You have been weighing heavy on my heart this past month, more than usual. Drew, I miss you very much and wish you were here to be with your family and friends for Christmas. I miss your fun loving spirit and smiling face. I even miss your nascar driving impressions that you would love to show off when I was riding with you. I even miss that hook in your baseball cap that I would pick with you about. You would say "You never know when you're gonna go fishing!" I miss everything about you. I did make a great friend through this tough time that reminds me of you everytime I look at her face and even has your care free spirit and thats your big sis. She is a wonderful and caring person just like you. Drew, keep watching over us and I will see you again one day in heaven."
Farah Jessop of Ridgeland, MS

"Merry Christmas From Heaven

I still hear the songs
I still see the lights
I still feel your love
on cold wintery nights

I still share your hopes
and all of your cares
I'll even remind you
to please say your prayers

I just want to tell you
you still make me proud
You stand head and shoulders
above all the crowd

Keep trying each moment
to stay in His grace
I came here before you
to help set your place

You don't have to be
perfect all of the time
He forgives you the slip
If you continue the climb

To my family and friends
please be thankful today
I'm still close beside you
In a new special way

I love you all dearly
now don't shed a tear
Cause I'm spending my
Christmas with Jesus this year"
Vangi & McKaLyne Lunsford, wife & daughter of the late Sgt. Audrey Daron Lunsford of Batesville, MS

It's been a little over five months since the horrible night that I found out you were gone. I've tried to be strong but inside I'm dying, I miss you so much. October was by far the worst month, I think I cried myself to sleep every night. Everything in October reminded me of you, because that was the last month you spent with me before you were discharged from the Army and went back to Mississippi. I remember the wonderful birthday when you skipped work to go to Hunstville with me, the "fair on the square" when you got me the "Freedom Isn't Free" poster, when we went to lay flowers on my grandmother's grave , when we went to the Heart of Texas Fair and Rodeo and you wanted me to bungy-jump, when we went shoping and fishing and to the movies and even when we just played cards; I remember every detail of every conversation that month, so everything I saw in October made me pray that I would wake up tomorrow and see that it has just been a bad dream and your really coming back. But, I know it's not and I know your happier where you are, I just miss you. Thanks so much for always doing what you did, and being such a great friend, I know there will never be another who could take you place and I'll always love you."
Mary Espin of Robinson, TX

"Thy voice is on the rolling air; I hear thee where the waters run;Thou standest in the rising sun, and in the setting thou art fair.
What art thou then? I cannot guess; But though i seem in star and flower To feel thee some diffusive power. I do not therefore love the less
My love involves the love before; My love is vaster passion now; Though mixed with God and Nature thou. I seem to love thee more and more.
Far off thou art, but ever high; I have thee still. and I rejoice, I prosper, circle with thy voice;
I shall not lose thee though I die!
-from In Memoriam by A.H.H
** DREW- You will always go with me, someone is only forgotten if you allow them to be, and I will never allow that! You did so much for so many of your fellow soldiers and they keep you with them daily. Please continue to be there side by side with Blake,I know he misses you! I know this was your wish, but I still dont understand why and I probably never will! I love you and miss you Drew! You still are and always will be my buddy, but above all, YOU ARE MY HERO!
Katie Roebuck of Clinton, Ms

Hey buddy! God what can I say other than I love you and miss you so much! God only knows what I would give to be able to rap "ice, ice baby" with you again or have one of your hugs or just simply hear you say "hey girl" or "thats right" (by the way, thanks for teaching Blake that word, it NEVER goes unused!).
You will never know how much you were loved here on this earth! I always told people that I had 2 men coming home to me,( you and Blake) and now, sadly, I can honestly say that one of my men is guiding the other one home!
There is not a day that goes by that I dont think of you(how could I not, when I have a huge nemo fish on my bed that you and Blake won me!)or cry myself to sleep! Drew- You are and always will be apart of Blake and I's life,We will always love you and NEVER forget about you. You were way to close to us for us to forget you! And I know you are still with me and Blake.
Drew, I know I have to let go at some point, but I dont want to! The pain, hits so deep and so hard I sometimes wonder if I will ever get over the pain! I know you wouldnt want me to cry, but buddy, I can not help it! as for Erin, Dont worry, she is going to be ok! She has many people that love her and are going to be with her every step of the way!
I know we will meet again one day, but untill then......
Katie Roebuck- of Clinton, Ms


I will always remember you. You were one of my best soldiers, everyone could, and always did count on. You will be missed, especially during those cold mornings on the Texas lakes during duck season."
CPT Art Nelsen of Harker Heights, Texas

"Hey Drew, 6 months ago today you left us for heaven. You made us have to say goodbye because you were destined for something greater...a greater and most honorable mission. However, not a day goes by that we don't remember your face and hear your voice in our hearts. We can still hear your stories and your sayings ("That's Right") through every memory we have of you. We still ask why. Why so soon? Why couldn't we have had you in our life years earlier? But, we know where you are, and heaven is a sweeter place because you are there. We still hold on to our hope...because if we didn't have hope...life wouldn't be difficult...it would be impossible. So, we hold on to our hope in God's promise that we will all be together again. What a reunion that will be?! Until then, I know you're still a soldier, and I know you're still with Mark in Iraq. He says he carries you in his heart, and he will bring you home again too. As for your sister, we love her just as we love you..and that's a whole lot! Yes, she still hurts and will for a long time, but we will hold her and remind her that you're holding her too. Please know how much we love you and miss you, Drew! You are our brother, our very dear friend, and one of the bravest soldiers I have ever had the honor to know. Mark has always and will always be proud of you, and he could not have been more honored to serve beside you. Drew, brothers and soldiers...that's what you and Mark will always be. We will never forget you...I promise. God bless you, Drew Rahaim! We love you!

~The Sister-in-Law you never asked for, but are so lucky to have~ (haha...don't forget that!)
Kandice <><

*John 15:13, "No greater love than this, that a man lay down his life for a friend...""
Rowe's Proud Wife of Byram, MS

I did not know you, but i was given your dog tag at a National Air Show by the Blue Angels. I tried to give a donation to the Serviceman but he would not accept it. He asked "please just wear it and don't forget our fallen soldiers" Ive never taken it off from the day i received it. Memorial Day 2005. Now I found this site and it means so much more seeing your face. You will not be forgotten."
Helen Gering of West Babylon, New York

"I only know you from the wonderful and heartfelt stories of the people who I recently met after you left to be with the ultimate "commander in chief". I love you through your sister Erin. What a beautiful woman that mirrors you in so many ways. You are alive through each of her stories and every sad tear. Her heart breaks everyday but her will is strong. You are her soul mate. Her love for you is so strong. I know you speak to her in many ways...I know you are her angel. Please lead her into healing she so desperately needs and the happiness that she deserves. She is overwhelmed with loving you so much. We know that you are a hero among the best. Please be her hero and lead her into the path of healing. She needs her heart to mend...she needs you to do this for her. Let her love you without pain...but joy! (Oh yes, and she wants a new purse...) God bless you G.I. Joe!"
"Just someone who cares deeply for your sister enough to ask for help from afar" of Byram, MS (for now)

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

"This is to Drew's Mom, sister, and dad:

I'll never forget the day when a nice looking young man came into my church, Victorious Life of Waco, Texas, and set down in front of my husband and I. All through the service, I was drawn to him sitting there all by himself. Our son, Michael Espin, was in Iraq at that time doing his first tour of duty. I felt the Holy Spirit impressing me to introduce myself and my husband to him and make him feel welcome. I said,"Are you in the military?" He proceeded to tell us about himself. The next week he came back to church and set in the same spot (in front of us again). We talk with him again after church, letting him know that our family felt led to be his new adopted family while he was still at Ft. Hood, Texas. He gladly accepted. And so began a wonderful friendship between Drew and the Espin family. We grew to love him dearly. He ate anything I set before him! He was so sweet and respectful to our daughters and our church family, who all loved him too. Today is Memorial Day and we have just found out tonight off the T.V. that Drew had died. We are grieving, and are so broken hearted. Your son and brother was very dear to us. Now we know why he had not wrote and called us in the last 3 months. We have faithfully prayed for him every single day since he went to Iraq. Today was our last prayer for him. He belongs to God now, and we plan on looking him up when we walk into Heaven's gates. We can't tell you how much we loved Drew. We are so sorry we didn't find out until now. WE will make a trip this summer to find his grave and have our last visit with him."
Dennis & Linda Espin of Robinson, Texas

It was God alone who brought you in my life and I know he is with you right now as the tears fall from my eyes. You told me long before you went to iraq that you wanted to fight for this country and not to expect you to come back, I guess in a way you knew and was ready. But, I wasn't in fact I scolded you for talking like that. Now that your gone I realize it was God's plan all along. He allowed a Mississippi boy to wonder into an unknown church in Waco Texas and meet the parents of a marine who was in Iraq. These parents were mine and we soon adopted you as part of our family. We spent the next year getting to know you more and more until you went back to Miss. and then we were restricted to phone calls and too short of visits. the last time you called me and told me you were leaving for Iraq you were calm and ready, I was the one who was scared. I was still praying for my brothers safe return and i didn't want to let go of my other. Well in February my two brothers came home, one to my physical home and you went home with God, I guess you got the best deal. it will probably be a while till I see you again, but I just wanted to tell you I love you and am proud of you and how you fought for this country."
Mary Anna Espin of Robinson, Texas

"Hey Drew, I know its what you wanted. You always knew the civil war like the back of your hand and you told great stories. We should be happy because i know that its what you would want. I'll never forget you and times we had in the 8th grade. You will always be remembered and never forgotten."
John Cockrell, USAF of Ramstein Air Base, Germany

You will always be in our hearts and minds. I will miss more than words could ever say."
SGT Tom Luna (Bco 1-5 Cav) of Ft. Hood, Tx

"Drew, you were truly a blessing in Marcus' life. You were an amazing friend, one whom he will always carry with him. I am blessed to have known you, even if it was only for a short amount of time. I know you will walk beside our soldiers in battle and in life. You will help them finish this war. Anyone who knew you, knew how much you loved the military. And anyone, who knew you, knew what a wonderful person you were. To your family, our prayers will always be with you. We know that God will continue to give you strength and carry you in His arms. Drew is truly a hero. He will always be remembered. Now he stands with God, and one day our soldiers will stand beside him once again. To our new angel-Sgt. Andrew Rahaim, Thank you for fighting for what you love. You will always be in our hearts and always remembered."
Krisi of Hattiesburg, MS

"I had the priviledge to meet Drew through my son Blake. He has visited our home several times. I am human so I am saddened that such a nice young man had to leave this earth. But am so glad that I did get to know him and that Blake had a great friend in Drew. He is our hero! My thoughts and prayers are with his family. May God be with you and carry you through this time and may he give you much pride to know that your son truly was a hero."
Yvonne Thigpen of Byram, Mississippi

"Drew, you were truly an amazing person, from your care free spirit to the way you gave your life for your country, and you wouldnt have it any other way and for that I will be forever grateful. Drew, you will be truly missed but never forgotten. I will see you again and until then I know you will be watching over all of us."
Farah Jessop of Ridgeland, MS

"Our heartfelt prayers go out to all those whose life has been forever changed by the loss of such a brave soldier. We will continue to remember you and what your sacrifice means to us, to my husband, to all the other soldiers, and to our country. God bless and keep you."
Debbie Rhodes, wife of LTC John Rhodes of Corinth, MS

""Drew, I didnt know you long, but I know what you meant to Mark and Kandice and for that I will be forever grateful. I know we will see you again one day in heaven. So, until then, I hope you know we will never forget your sacrifice, and my family will always love you. We know Mark has the very best guardian angel now...YOU! You are our HERO!""
Kristin Smith of Byram, Ms./USA

"Drew you were such a bright shining light to those around you. You made things more bearable for all of the soldiers serving with you with your wonderful wit and sense of humor. You left a lasting impression on my husband, Sgt. Steve Howell. He is honored to have been your platoon leader but he was even more honored to have called you friend.
To the family, your son was a wonderful young man who touched many lives. We love you and will continue to lift you up in our prayers."
Mrs. Steven Howell of Mendenhall Ms

"Drew you will forever be remembered in our hearts. You truly are an American Hero. I only met you once, but you were a great guy. You gave the ultimate sacrifice for us. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know you are in Heaven now as God's Soldier. I know you are watching over all of our guys still in Iraq. You will forever be remembered in our hearts. Stand Fast Drew Rahaim..."
Haley Veazey of D'lo Mississippi

"Drew, it was so hard to tell you goodbye, but we know it was only 'goodbye for now' because we will see you again in heaven. Our selfish, human natures wish you were here with us now, but we rejoice in knowing that you stand at attention before our Heavenly Father. Drew, we are so proud of you! We thank God everyday for the moments we shared with you, for they are now our precious memories. Mark will now go back to Iraq, but he knows you go with him...side by side...as you always were. You will always be a special part of our lives. Drew, we will love you forever!
-In God's Hands-
Mark and Kandice Rowe <><"
Kandice Rowe of Byram, MS/USA

"There are no words to express the sorrow we feel for your loss. May God bless you and help you through this time."
Dan and Meg Manninen of San Antonio, Texas

"My thoughts and prayers are with you all in the loss of Drew. I know each of you have wonderful memories of him. I'm a friend of Spc Benjamin Cooper. We found out last night. Again our thoughts and prayers are with your family."
Amy McKeehan of Comanche, TX

"To Family and Friends of Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim: God Bless and keep you all, you have our sympathy, our love, our prayers in this time of grief. We respect you Spc. Joseph A. Rahaim, you are truly one of our Heroes, the best of the best."
Barbara Christ of Hamilton, Montana

Please KNOW so many people share your sadness, and we are remembering your family in your loss and your deep grief. Your HERO, Joseph , will be remembered by name. Our thoughts and prayers are with you. God Bless you ALWAYS. Pat & Sandi Breckenridge from Montana "

"Thank you Joseph Rahaim, 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 Spc. Joseph Rahaim:
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 Joseph 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 Spc. Joseph Rahaim:
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 Joseph, 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