Reprint of original posted in 2010....
Name: Arnette, Jason Birthday: 11/07/1982 Date of Death: 04/01/2007 Age: 24 Rank: SSG Service: Army
"It's funny how things roll in your direction when you think everything is all good in the hood. Life can switch momentum on you in a flash but don't let it get you down as long as you can do something about it." - Jason Arnette in an email to his sister.
That is taken from a profile CJ did of this fallen hero on They Have Names.
I have written about Jason and his family a couple of times. A year ago, I wrote about a bridge being named to honour his service and sacrifice:
Friday, April 3, 2009Go here to read more of that day. I also included Mickey in My Heroes of the Year: The Families column here.
SSG Jason Arnette: A bridge connecting heartsToday in Amelia County, Virginia, a very special ceremony is being held to rename a bridge as the
[...] SSG JASON R ARNETTE MEMORIAL BRIDGE.
Jason was a fine soldier, whose whole attitude in life was one of determination, honor, loyalty.
Mum Mickey gave a speech at the bridge dedication, which went - in part:
...One of Jason's dreams was to be the BEST OF BEST. He pushed himself to do the Best that he could strive for. That is the example he set for all us all. He wanted to go down in the record books being famous. And I guess he got that wish. He will never be Forgotten.He wrote a letter for my Birthday one year: let me read some of it to you now;Dear Mom,So your little man has now grown up. Ready to step in to the world stronger than ever. Just to let you know that you are my motivation with all things, all through life you have made me feel like I am the best at whatever it was I was doing or have done. I want to thank you for loving me the way you do. One thing I will always remember about myself is I always had my mother to keep me safe, I always had your love, and you pushed me along for all things and you would fight for me no matter what. Thank you Mom I will always love you. Love, Your little man Dayday...
I would like to quote another Gold Star Mother;
- America is blessed to have dedicated men and women who voluntarily commit to service in our armed forces. They stand in defense of the values and principles that made our nation great.
- God gives the heart of a warrior to those who are willing to answer the call for freedom and justice. They willingly sacrifice in hopes of contributing to a better world, Give honor where honor is due- to God who calls, to the grateful nation who sends, to the brave hero who goes and to the loved ones who prayerfully stay behind....
Beloved son, brother, husband, friend and HERO; three years since that day when Jason gave his all, his life matters, will always matter. The boy, the man, lives on in all who love him.
On the Arlington Cemetary site, there is this about Jason:
..."My son lived and died doing what he liked doing," his mother, Michelle Arnette, said last night. "He loved the discipline and the structure."
The bigger the challenge, his mother said, "the more he aspired to do it." During his five years in the Army, she said, he served one tour in Korea and was sent three times to Iraq.
Her son, she said, was "a special young fellow" who was so friendly that "he never met a stranger." At Amelia County High School, he had been in the ROTC and had played soccer, she said. Those who played with him remained among his closest friends, she said.
At 13 and again at 16, she said, Arnette and others from Amelia's Faith Christian Church traveled to Guatemala for the building projects.
In school, Arnette was a year ahead of Shenandoah Sky Hughes; they became close while he was in the Army and married in 2004.
"He was ready to start a life," his wife said last night. "He wanted kids. He would have been a really great father."
Arnette was adventurous, a lover of sports and the outdoors, and wanted to become a history teacher, his wife said.
She said he "accepted everybody" and believed he could "connect with anybody."...
[...] He loved to tell stories, she said, and "he loved me very, very much."
Go read more about this special young man here.
...They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them....
We will remember them
I promise you, Jason: I WILL always remember and honour you, and your family, with gratitude, respect and love.
A friend, and brother in arms, shared a story about Jason, that truly shows who he is. He gave me permission to add it here. Read on:
Thank you for sharing this, Russ, and thank YOU for your service..
On our second tour, when we were at Liberty, everyone was super excited because we were gonna get a Popeye's Chicken next to the PX. Those of us who'd served in Korea were especially jazzed because in Camp Casey, Popeye's was the most popular place to eat. Jason and I decided that when it opened, we'd roll down to the PX together and score some of that rad biscuit w/Cajun gravy action. LOL
The days rolled by, the days got hot, and the surge got tiresome. Yet those of us in the know, knew what kind of cullinary perfection awaited us in just a few weeks, and that made everything a bit more endurable. LOL
Finally, the day was almost there. We were getting giddy. One night, while I was asleep in my rack, I heard a few rocket impacts about a mile off. Didn't think much of it. (You know where this is going...;>) The next day, Jason hopped behind the wheel of one of the company Humvees, I hopped in the shotgun seat, and somebody else jumped in the back. We sped down the road, ready to stand in a 2 hour line for some cullinary radditude. We got to the PX..........and froze.
The one friggin time Ali Babba fired a rocket and hit anything of value was this. Although the rocket was fired at aprox. 0200, and therefore (thank Christ) no one was there to get hurt, one of the rockets landed plumb on the roof of our beloved, unshriven Popeye's!! I jumped out of the Humvee, grabbed a scorched biscuit, raised it to the sky, and screamed with all my indignance - "WWWWHHHHHYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!
After we policed the area in order to make sure that no consumable chicken was left, (Never leave a drumstick behind....) We hopped back into the truck, and headed back to our pad. 1/2 way through, we began to chuckle. I don't know who said it first, but the 3 of us realized that we had a story strait out of "M*A*S*H to tell someday.
That's why I liked Jason. He could find the humor in anything.;>