Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Paying Tribute to the Ultimate Sacrifice

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Paying Tribute to the Ultimate Sacrifice

Article excerpt

Memorial Day honors those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their nation.

The best way to honor them is to ask for the personal stories of their family members.

Therefore, the Times-Union is honored to have a number of veterans among the members of its Email Interactive Group. Here are a few of their remembrances.

A REMEMBRANCE

Throughout the year, I think of my fallen classmates from West Point and my all too many fallen soldiers from Vietnam. But Memorial Day is about all the killed in action from all the generations back to Concord and Bunker Hill.

Charlie Baker, Col. (Ret.), U.S. Army, Neptune Beach

GOLD STAR FATHER

I am the father of Pfc. Timothy J. Seamans who was killed in action on Aug. 18, 2005 while returning from a mine assessment mission in Samarra, Iraq.

The Humvee he was driving carried three other soldiers and struck an IED that took the lives of each of these brave men.

Our son was only 20 years old at the time of his death.

He had served only 387 days in the Army.

He graduated from Terry Parker High School in May 2004 and enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 27, 2004.

He knew at the time of his graduation from Calvary School, Ft. Knox, that the command (3rd Infantry Division, Ft. Stewart, Ga.) he was assigned to would be deploying to Iraq in January 2005.

He reported to Ft. Stewart, Ga., on Dec. 5, 2004.

He left for Iraq on Jan. 13, 2005.

In May, Tim would return home for 12 days of rest and relaxation, to see his sister Ashley graduate and for Mother's Day.

On May 21, the family drove him to Jacksonville International Airport from where he would return to Iraq.

Three weeks prior to his death, I received a call that he had struck an IED and that everything was all right. I can tell you that it brought my heart up and into my throat.

Little did I know that three weeks later, he would strike another one that would end in his untimely death.

When we received his personal effects, one of the items was the uniform that he wore at the time of his death. The Army cleaned and starched the outfit, but you could still smell the intense smoke and see some small blood spots that were left on the fabric.

My wife and I were not overly joyed that they would give this back to us. It wasn't until September that Ft. Stewart held a tree dedication ceremony, during which a tree was also dedicated for Tim. Our family were brought back to the command headquarters and I was given a CD that contained photos of their mission.

Once I returned home, I downloaded the CD and browsed through the photos. I came across the photo showing Tim and two other soldiers in front of a Humvee that had struck an IED; this was the picture that Tim told me about three weeks before he was killed.

In August 2006, our family founded the Timothy James Seamans Memorial Foundation, Inc. …

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