A picture is worth… A million words isn’t even a good start

“I want all of you to be safe. And please don’t feel bad for us. We are warriors. And as warriors have done before us, we joined this organization and are following orders because we believe that what we are doing is right. Many of us have volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. We fight and sometimes die so that our families don’t have to. Stand beside us. Because we would do it for you. Becasue [sic] it is our unity that has enabled us to prosper as a nation.” – Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, written a week before he was killed in action in Iraq.

DNJ photo by Aaron Thompson

LEWISBURG — A family, community and brothers in arms came together Wednesday to grieve for U.S. Marine Staff Sgt. Marcus Andrew “Marc” Golczynski, 30, who was killed in Iraq last week.

Hundreds attended the Marine’s funeral at the Church Street Church of Christ, sharing tears, laughter, song and prayer.

As 8-year-old Christian Golczynski accepted the flag from his father’s casket, tears flowed freely from the mourners, and even Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson, who presented the flag to the boy, showed a trace of emotion.

“My Marc made the sacrifice for my freedom,” said Heather Southward Golczynski, widow of the fallen Marine. “That is a debt I won’t ever be able to repay.”

Marc Golczynski, who had been a Marine reservist for 12 years, was shot by enemy fire March 27 while on patrol in the Al Anbar province, where he was stationed on his second tour of duty in Iraq. He was assigned to the Marine Forces Reserve’s Third Battalion, 24th Marine Regiment, Fourth Marine Division, Nashville.

Read the whole thing. Family, friends remember fallen Marine

Additionally, James Drescher has a few thoughts in a letter to the Tennessean:

Dear Tennessean:

The Tennessean’s April 5 photograph of young Christian Golczynski accepting the American flag from Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson is one of the most moving and emotion provoking images I have ever seen.

My wife and I attended funeral services for Christian’s father, Staff Sergeant Marcus Golczynski, on April 4, along with our six year-old son, dozens of Marines, and several hundred others who came to pay tribute to this fallen hero.

As one would expect, many of your readers were touched by this incredible picture. Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq. Shortly before his death on March 27 he wrote to his family that he had volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. In his letter he said, “We fight and sometimes die so that our families don’t have to.” Tragically, Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour. We look at the photograph of Christian every day. It is displayed prominently in our home.

Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict.

Our nation is at a historical crossroads. Do we call an end to the struggle in Iraq or press on? Staff Sergeant Golczynski eloquently told his son how he felt about not giving up. Perhaps there is a lesson for all of us in this man’s life and the choices he made. He was undeniably a man of tremendous courage and conviction. America must now choose whether to complete the job.

When looking at the face of Christian Golczynski I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right. Christian’s dad knew that too.

James Drescher

Franklin, TN

More here and here.

It is possible to view this picture and take from it the idea that “supporting the troops” means getting them out of harm’s way – immediately and unconditionally. If we had done so last month, Christian Golczynski would not be without a father, and Heather Golczynski would not be a widow.

What does not seem possible is demanding such a withdrawal before we can “finish the job we started.” This soldier has spoken: “Stand beside us. Because we would do it for you.” Yes, that would be supporting the troops; not to mention Christian and Heather.


3 thoughts on “A picture is worth… A million words isn’t even a good start”

  1. When I saw this story I couldn’t help thinking of this quote from Saving Private Ryan: “Dear Madam: I have been shown in the files of the War Department a statement of the Adjutant-General of Massachusetts that you are the mother of five sons who have died gloriously on the field of battle. I feel how weak and fruitless must be any words of mine which should attempt to beguile you from the grief of a loss so overwhelming. But I cannot refrain from tendering to you the consolation that may be found in the thanks of the Republic they died to save. I pray that our heavenly Father may assuage the anguish of your bereavement, and leave you only the cherished memory of the loved and lost, and the solemn pride that must be yours to have laid so costly a sacrifice upon the altar of freedom. Yours very sincerely and respectfully, Abraham Lincoln.” God bless this boy and may he always feel the love of a grateful nation.

  2. All Give some, Some give allI would just like to say thank you Marc thank you and your family for there sacrifice as I read about this my eyes tear up and my throat becomes lumpy you see I will go home tonight and thank god I can see my children 10 and 4 and my wife my prayers are with you and your family you lost your life for mine it puts things in perspective I printed this story out and will let my children read it.Thank youMarc Gervasio