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Memorial Day – The Ultimate Sacrifice

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Pvt. First Class Brandon T. Pickering

Memorial Day is a time for honoring those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and they should never be forgotten.  Some of us haven’t had to endure the pain and suffering from losing a loved one at war, yet some of us have.  It’s devastating to lose a loved one who was fighting for our country, but I’m sure the most devastating loss is when a parent must lose their only child in such a horrific way.  If you know someone, especially a parent, who is grieving the horrific loss of their child, a child who died while serving our country, please take a moment and tell that person how proud you are that their loved one served our country and gave up their own life for all of us….the ultimate sacrifice.  In my opinion, these proud soldiers stand on the right side of Jesus, who also made the ultimate sacrifice, so we could all live.  I’m sure you probably know of someone who made that ultimate sacrifice for all of us.  I’d like to take a moment and mention a young man whom I was fortunate enough to meet…a young man who made the ultimate sacrifice for all of us.

The handsome young man in the picture above is Pvt. First Class Brandon T. Pickering.  Brandon was a 2008 graduate of Highlands High School.  He enlisted in the Army in September 2009.  He was stationed at Fort Polk, Louisiana, in April 2010, after completing his training at Fort Benning, Georgia.  Brandon deployed in October 2010 with the 1st Platoon, Company C, 2nd Battalion, 4th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division’s Task Force Warrior, as an assistant machine gunner.

On April 8th, 2011, Brandon’s unit was attacked with small arms and rocket-propelled grenades.  It was during this fight that Brandon was hit in his head by an enemy bullet.  Two days later, Brandon succumbed to his injures at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany.  He was 21 years old.

During Brandon’s short time in the military, he earned numerous awards and medals to include, the Bronze Star Medal, The Purple Heart Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, the Army Good Conduct Medal, the NATO Medal, and the Combat Infantryman Badge.

Brandon was quoted in saying, “the only way to enjoy life is to live each day to its fullest.  You’ll never fail in life as long as you try your best.  Life is too short.”  Brandon was so right.  Life is short, but he did not fail in the mission he set out to accomplish.  Brandon was a very kind-hearted, sweet and caring person, who always had a smile on his face, and brightened the morale of all his friends and fellow soldiers.  His peers commented that he took any negative situation and turned it into something positive for all those around him.

Not only did Brandon make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us, but he kept giving, even at the time of his passing.  He donated six of his organs including his heart, liver, pancreas, and both kidneys.  One of the lucky recipients was a 6-year-old child.

Brandon was the only son of very proud parents, his mother, Tammy Moore and step dad Mike Moore, of Fort Thomas Ky.  What parents couldn’t be more proud of such a wonderful giving son!!  Brandon’s mother not only lost her only child, but she lost her best friend, and although she could never be more proud of her son, she also grieves for him each and every day.

On this Memorial Day, I ask you…if you know these parents or anyone else who has lost a child or family member in the line of duty, please take a moment and tell them how proud you are of their loved one for sacrificing their life for our continued freedom!

I speak for myself and so many others who were so honored to know or have met Brandon.

Rest in peace Brandon, your job here is done…You will never be forgotten and we will always honor you!

“May the road rise up to meet you, may the wind be ever at your back.  May the sun shine warm upon your face and the rain fall softly on your fields.  And until we meet again, May God hold you in the hollow of his hand.”

 

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