PFCs Fairbairn and Casillas: The Newest Faces of Freedom
On July 4th, 2009, the families of PFC Aaron Fairbairn and PFC Justin Casillas were notified by soldiers in dress uniforms representing the United States Army, that their loved ones had been killed in Afghanistan.
It’s a holiday where most of us barbeque, drink, watch fireworks and celebrate our country’s independence. With the war going on, it was nice to see how many people were supportive of me and my family, thankful for what we do for our country.
But now, every year, these two families will think of how their son, brother, husband or father died. The 4th of July will no longer be barbeques, drinking, and watching fireworks, but it will be a holiday of personal sacrifice and mourning.
It makes me think of that episode from MASH where Hawkeye fights to keep a kid alive until December 26th so a soldier’s family doesn’t think of Christmas as the day their son died. Since I was a kid, that episode has always stuck with me. I didn’t understand it until I was in the military, but today, it is underscored.
PFC Aaron Fairbairn reminds me of what I used to be like as a private; on the inside, tough as nails, a killer, ready to eat the enemy’s guts and eat their brains for desert. It’s what we were trained to do and how we are trained to be. “Kill people and break shit” is what we used to say. But on the outside, I was a goofy kid that was worried about the next beer I was going to drink and which girl I was going to drink it with.
Aaron also makes me think of my son, 19, and in the Marine Corps. He is no different. Ready to kill, eager to go to war, and driven by thoughts of battle and coming home a hero, but he is the same; cars, girls, and beer.
Push-ups, pussy and parties; the life of killers, defenders of freedom.
I don’t know PFC Fairbairn or PFC Casillas, but I bet they were the same.
On the 4th of July, we have faceless visions of soldiers making sacrifices, but now, Independence Day has a face.