This is Captain Adam Snyder, Ethan’s former roommate and West Point classmate. Adam selflessly volunteered to leave the safety of a desk job to lead a platoon during a 15-month deployment in Iraq. He was killed on December 5th, 2007 by a roadside bomb at the age of 26. Adam was an incredible athlete, hometown hero and wanted to be an actor. My favorite memory of Adam is him smiling and leaving $20 on the counter of their apartment, teasing Ethan to take me out on a nice date. I can only imagine how many of my girlfriends would be asking me to set them up with Adam had he lived.
This is 1st Lieutenant Amos Bock, one of Ethan’s close friends from West Point and the Army. Amos was killed on October 23rd, 2006 – two weeks before he was scheduled to come home from a year-long deployment. He was 24. I did not know Amos, but my best friend and roommate Mary went to the funeral to support Amos’s sister, Mariah. There, Mary met several of Amos’s friends-including Ethan-and invited them to a football game at our school the following weekend. It’s not lost on Ethan and me that we never would have met, nor would our daughters be here, had it not been for Amos. As a testament to his character, over 10 babies have been named after him so far.
These guys enjoyed Memorial Day weekend like the rest of us and made sure to have fun while honoring the fallen. Today, we honor Adam, Amos, and over 20 of Ethan’s comrades who have lost their lives serving our country.
This does not include seven of his friends who have passed away from suicide since then. We remember and honor them and promise to not let them down as we feel incredibly lucky for our lives and the people in it.
If you are looking for a practical way to serve the men and women who have served our country, something as simple as flying a flag outside your home is appreciated by military families. Or, thanking a military member for his or her service is gesture that goes a long way, whether it be in a supermarket, neighborhood, or airport. When he was in uniform, Ethan was absolutely touched by people paying for his meal or giving up a first-class seat for him- and he won't ever forget those people.
Finally, the American Legion has resources on its website to help plant flags at the headstones of Veterans at your local cemetery in observance of Veteran's Day or Memorial Day.
It was amazing seeing the headstones of people who have served dating back to the Civil War all the way through World War I and II, Vietnam, and the War on Terror.
Thank you for all who have made the ultimate sacrifice, as well as their loved ones. We won’t ever forget.