January 22, 2009

The Ultimate Sacrifice? [Robert Stokely]

To the Board of Directors Best Buy:

Are you kidding with your latest commercial? I am talking about the commercial where your sales representative is talking about the groom who sold his season tickets to help pay for the wedding and then his bride comes in to buy him a big screen television because of his "ultimate sacrifice". How is it a sacrifice, much less an "ultimate sacrifice" to give up a pair of season tickets so you can afford your own wedding (unless Best Buy was making a back hand sexist reference that a wedding is only for the bride?) Sacrifice is something you do for the benefit of others, not yourself. For the record, if you give up something to be able to have something else in its place, you have not made a sacrifice, you have made a choice.

So, appearing that Best Buy does not understand what the meaning of the term "ultimate sacrifice" is, let me introduce you to some people I personally know who have made the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. Cristopher Rojas-Gallego was killed in action Iraq just days after he returned home from leave to be present at the birth of his son, leaving behind a young wife barely 21 and two other little boys he loved and was raising as his own. Charles Warren left a two year old son and wife then seven months pregnant and was killed intercepting a suicide bomber in South Baghdad just one month after his daughter was born. The closet Charles Warren's daughter ever got to being held by her daddy was when he wore a picture button of her on his body armor in Iraq.

Then there is Bobby Hollar who left a 27 year old wife and two young boys to go to Iraq and who along with his good friend, George Draughn, made the ultimate sacrifice and were killed in action near Mahmuhdiyah. They encouraged each other to "make it" as they were on the med evac choppers headed to a field hospital. They died on separate operating tables. George Draughn left a young son, mother, father, and sisters who to this day miss him dearly, and who had to cope with his death in the devastation and aftermath of Hurricane Katrina as he was returned home to Louisianna where they lived.

The Stokely family watched Mike Stokely train for five years of his six year National Guard hitch from the time he was a junior in high school until his marriage to his high school sweet heart just ten days before he left for Iraq. Mike Stokely could have remained behind in a recruiting job far from the heat, danger and harsh living conditions he endured in Iraq. He could have had the simple conveniences of life like a flushing toilet instead of a five gallon bucket and burning his waste Yusufiyah. He could have slept in air conditioning in a safe neighborhood rather than sleeping with his gun ready for one of the many on-going attacks on his compound. He could have driven down a smooth paved road listening to his favorite music rather than dusty roads laced with improvised explosive devices. He could have eaten fresh home cooking rather than beans out of a can, an MRE or an occassional hot "army chow". He cold have taken a real shower rather than occassionaly hosing off from a water truck that leaked from bullet holes. He could have remained with his family, becoming a father, uncle and maybe one day father of the bride rather than coming home childless in a flag draped casket. He was a husband, son, brother, and friend who gave his life for America and he did it for us and you and he wanted nothing in return.

The Rojas-Gallegos', Warrens', Hollars', Draughn's, Stokelys' and one million others and their families have given a lifetime of love for America. A soldier, sailor, marine, airman, or coast guard member giving their life for America on the field of battle is the ULTIMATE SACRIFICE given for the present and future guarantee of America's way of life and freedom. Such ULTIMATE SACRIFICE costs more than a pair of season tickets and is worth much more than a big screen television.

But, the guarantee of freedom carries with it the freedom of speech, including allowing Best Buy the opportunity to take license with the words ULTIMATE SACRIFICE. Such license exists, not because some groom sold his season tickets, but because one million men and women have given their life for America.

To some, I may sound too sensitive about a Best Buy commercial. Far from it, I just have too much respect for those who died serving America to sit on the right of free speech paid for with the blood of those who truly made an ULTIMATE SACRIFICE.

Robert Stokely
proud dad SGT Mike Stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq
US Army E 108 CAV 48th BCT GAARNG

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