JS Tip 425: Memorial Day

From the Leadership Workshops: Memorial Day

Twice each year, we leave our discussions of writing and leadership and customer service and talk about something more important. These two times are Memorial Day and Veterans Day. 

Monday is Memorial Day. It means more than furniture sales.  

Let us remember Petty Officer Chris Walsh of Bridgetown, Missouri.

Chris was a Navy Corpsman. A medic. He was assigned to the Third Battalion, 24th Regiment, Fourth Marine Division in Anbar Province.

In June of 2006, an Iraqi woman holding an infant approached Chris and the Marines on patrol. The only English words the woman knew were “Baby. Baby sick. Baby sick.”

The Marines set up a defensive perimeter. Chris examined the baby. The baby—“baby Mariam”—had been born with her bladder outside her body. 

Chris cleaned the baby as best as he could and took photos to show the doctors back at base camp. The doctors later told Chris that baby Mariam would need life-saving surgery—in the United States.

Each week, Chris and his Marine buddies would return to the home to treat baby Mariam and prevent infection from killing her. They searched for ways to send her stateside.

Four months later, in October of 2006, baby Mariam went to Boston for her successful surgery.

But Chris and two of his Marine buddies weren’t there to see it.

They’d been killed by a roadside bomb the previous month. Chris’s mom flew from Missouri to Boston to hold baby Mariam.

At the close of James Michener’s The Bridges at Toko-Ri, the admiral asks himself, “Where do we get such men?”

Where do we get such men?

Mark Brooks