Because today is Memorial Day, I wanted to talk about two members of the Soldiers' Angels extended family. As part of the Soldiers' Angels deployed soldier support program, these two young troops were "adopted" by Angels who sent them letters and packages. Here are their stories.
Hatak Yearby was a young Native American who grew up in Oklahoma together with his parents and two sisters. Many back at Marietta High School in Overbrook remember him as "the polite, quite kid with the two braids".
Hatak, which means "free man", cherished his Choctaw and Creek ancestries. He participated in American Indian dancer competitions, once winning second place.
Jose MarinDominguez was born in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico and emigrated to the United States in 1991. His family later moved to Liberal, Kansas where he became a U.S. citizen.
Growing up in Liberal, Jose loved music and cars, and even started a car club. He was known as a sweet guy with a tough exterior, a familiar face in church, and devoted to his adopted country.
One morning Hatak woke up and told his mother he had a dream. He had to cut his hair. Influenced by past warriors and veterans, he had to join the Marines.
Jose told his automotive mechanics instructor he was going to join the Marines right after high school, and he did. He was excited about it, believing God "had him there for a reason".
Both were assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, 3rd Marine Division, III Marine Expeditionary Force at Marine Corps Base Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii.
Both went out on a mission together two weeks ago in Anbar province, Iraq.
And so these two Americans - one a Native American, the other a Mexican-born naturalized American - died together during combat operations on 14 May, 2006 in the Global War on Terror.
Please remember our Heroes, today on Memorial Day and every day.
Both families will receive living trees to be planted in memory of their Heroes from the Soldiers' Angels Living Legends Team.