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Hartselle Enquirer

A true American hero

During my 13 years working at a newspaper, I have been privileged the opportunity to meet many folks and experience different aspects of people’s lives than I might have not been able to do in other professions.

Last week when Dan Copeland asked me if I would be interested in covering a memorial service for a fallen Marine, I thought I could show up, take a few photos and leave, and all would be good.

But I truly believe we are placed in certain situations in order that we can understand what others are going through and perhaps even to force us to be more thankful for our lives and those of our friends and family.

There have been a lot of feelings expressed over someone being called a hero for a life decision that they have made. The person in the media spotlight basically made a decision to live as a different person.

Lance Cpl. Jonathan Smith made a decision after he graduated from high school that he wanted to be a United States Marine. I am sure that anytime a person joins the armed services the thought that they could lose their life comes into play at sometime during their decision.

According to information about Jonathan found on the Internet, he joined after 9-11 to help preserve the freedoms that we as Americans enjoy. He knew the price of freedom and that the cost could be his own life.

Sat., June 6, was the 10th anniversary of the day he laid down his life for his country, as a 22-year-old Marine. The vehicle he was riding in on a combat mission ran over an IED and he was killed. One of his fellow marines also in the vehicle suffered hearing loss but survived. He was in attendance at the memorial service for Jonathan and played the Marine’s Hymn and “Amazing Grace” on the bagpipes. If you are not moved hearing the notes of “Amazing Grace” as they are played on the bagpipe, you might want to have your heart checked.

A local group of Marines who have formed a Marine Corps league of Morgan County along with Jonathan’s mom, Donna, held the memorial service in honor and memory of Jonathan. Bro. Jack Redfearn gave a special message honoring Jonathan and others who have paid the ultimate sacrifice to keep this great country free. His words of comfort and praise touched all of those in attendance.

Donna mentioned that her wish was that Jonathan and his sacrifice would not be forgotten. The Morgan County detachment is making sure of that. The name of their group will now be known as the Marine Corps League of Morgan County Lance Cpl. Jonathan L. Smith Detachment. Let us all never forgot these American heroes who gave their all for the life we are able to live each day.

Randy Garrison is the president and publisher of the Hartselle Enquirer.

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