To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Monday, October 18, 2010

LCPL Tyler A. Roads, A Marine To Know

“Tyler taught me how to love.”

Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads’ mother Sonia and I settled down on the grass next to where Tyler rests.  We find ourselves picking up pine needles that continuously fall on Tyler.  His headstone is not in place yet, but there are several offerings left by loved ones.  Sonia picked up a small bunch of yellow flowers, “I wonder who left these?”  She lovingly straightens and rearranges everything until they are just right. 

After reading about Tyler’s death in Afghanistan on July 10th, the day before he was to celebrate his 21st birthday, my heart extended out to his family, friends, and brothers.  By the power of pure luck and the Internet, Sonia stumbled across Words For Warriors on Gold Star Mother’s Day, giving me the chance to meet her, and her son.

Prior to arriving at Tyler’s final resting place, Sonia shared pictures, childhood schoolwork, and memories with me.  Through pictures I discovered Tyler wore the same half-cocked playful grin as a boy that he wore in Afghanistan.  I can see Tyler grinning in my minds eye as Sonia tells the story of Tyler, at the age of seven begging her to shoot Doves in the back field with his Red Rider BB gun.  She finally gave in.  Her smile widened as she remember the proud look on his face when he came back with two Doves and his head held high with accomplishment.  “After that I always cooked what he brought home.  He loved to hunt.  He planned on being a Game Warden when he got out of the Marines.”

To keep Tyler’s memory alive and honor his dream the community of Burney has founded the Tyler A. Roads Memorial Scholarship Fund.  The scholarship is $1000 for a student who wants to be in law enforcement or Fish and Game Management.  US Bank is accepting donations for anyone who has the ability and desire to contribute to a Marine and his dream.

At the end of my visit Sonia and I sat in silence beside Tyler, knowing we would have to leave soon, but not wanting to go.  The scent of pine lingered in the warm air.  Sonia smiled, pointing to the Military Memorial with the flags of each branch, the POW/MIA flag, and the American Flag that was fifteen feet from Tyler.  There had been a constant breeze making each flag flap consistently; however at this moment all flags were still except the Marine Corps flag, which waved proudly at us.  It was as if Tyler was waving goodbye.

Getting to know Tyler through his mother is an honor and a privilege.  I don't feel as if I have done his memory justice here, but this is no easy post. If you knew Tyler I encourage you to leave a comment of your favorite memory of him here, or on the Lance Corporal Tyler A. Roads Memorial facebook page here. Other post on Tyler can be found here and here.

Oh and Tyler, your mom says, “ILUMTAITWWW PAMF, DON'T FORGET!!!


Anonymous said...

Its "LCPL Tyler A Roads" not Taylor. very nice site

Kristina Divine said...

Anonymous~ Well that's just embarrassing. I have personally thanked Tyler's mom Sonia for having named a child Tyler and a child Taylor. Although I can't seem to fix it where facebook is concerned, any ideas?

CI-Roller Dude said...

Very nice story. It's the memory that counts, my name has been spelled wrong my entire life, so I'm sure it'll be wrong when I die.

It's the thought and time it takes to write a nice story that's important.

Kristina Divine said...

CI ~ I was trying really hard not to make that mistake since his sister's name is Taylor... epic failure. It was just the title I messed up on, but it went out there wrong even though it's correct now.

I'll be sure to spell your name wrong when I do a eulogy for you =] It will be my special way of showing you love!

Spockgirl said...

Must have been extremely moving for you to meet the mom. Well done.

soniaroads said...

hey kristina, i was lookin thru old (lol) stuff & came across this .. wow, time has become something i dont quite understand anymore cuz this seems like yesterday & also like a hundred freakin long ass years (sorry)! i swear tyler is laughin at all my gray hairs now lol. wait til i get to go a couple rounds with him again, thats not true .. i wont be able to get past the bear hug probaly. i just know since this time for someone who doesnt do people i have met (computerized) some of the most .... i was just thinking of a word but theres soo many lol.. caring, loving people who really do care, even if they cant get the names right, who names their kids like that lol tyler, tayler (not taylor),thomas, tj & trinity anyways? i just thank god everyday that i found you >3