Military families have always gathered in the iVillage community. When one's life is so frequently uprooted, having a consistent meeting place like this can be a great asset. They come here to share stories, exchange advice and offer support to one another.
In honor of Military Families month, and to help all of us get a better understanding of those most closely affected by the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, we are creating the Military Heroes Tribute. With snapshots provided by families who have lost loved ones in military service, it will put faces to the names we see in the newspapers, and hopefully give us a moment to pause, count our own blessings and say thank you.
To start it off we’d like to introduce you to Brian J. Ouellette, above. He was born February 12, 1967 in Brighton, Mass., and killed in action on May 29, 2004 in Kabul Province, Afghanistan. His brother Michael Ouellette recently shared a little of his story with us:
"Brian is best remembered for the big smile on his face when he met you. He was always with a quick-wit remark to make you laugh. He was also a very fierce and determined competitor that proved to make him a SEAL. His growth as a loving and compassionate man who loved to defend our freedom could not be better exemplified when just weeks before his death he allowed a younger service member to go home on leave to see his family in his place. That in itself about sums it up."
Have you or has someone you know lost a loved one in the Iraq or Afghan wars? Please send in their story and photo so they can be included in our upcoming tribute.
To have your hero included, please submit the following via email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
1. A JPG of your fallen hero. It could be an official portrait or a family/holiday snapshot. Something that makes you smile and that you feel comfortable sharing. JPGs should be at least 1000 pixels wide. Please include the names of all people in the photos.
2. Please provide the following information about your hero:
-- Name, date and place of birth; date and place of death
-- Where he/she lived and military branch or division
-- Survived-by names of loved ones/family
-- Something he/she loved (rock music, spicy chili, a car -- the more specific the better)
-- Complete this thought: "Best remembered for…" (i.e., spirit, charming smile, being a great dad, etc.)
-- Also feel free to include any links to websites or support groups you would like others to visit in your hero's honor
If you are not already a member of the iVillage community please join us! Our message boards are a great way to connect with others going through similar experiences like yours, from the everyday to the extraordinary.
Look for our iVillage Military Heroes Tribute in early 2011.
Do you have a friend or family member in the armed forces? Chime in below!