Hello there!

Welcome to my little corner of the ether. This is where you will find information about my books and musings on life and love in New York City. To stay in the loop about all things ADR...

JOIN THE LIST

Sergeant Patrick Hamburger (1981-2011)

{As many of you know, my plan was to pause for the entire month of August. But here I am. Back in the middle of this good month. And for good reason. Please read this. Please react to this. Please have others read this. This? This matters.}

E is a long-time friend of mine, a fellow Yale and Columbia Law alum. E grew up with my oldest/best friend in the world and I've known E since we were maybe ten. E is engaged to be married to M, a wonderful and bright and humble guy, also a lawyer. Earlier this summer we had E and M over to celebrate their engagement and to meet our Little Girl and to enjoy a simple dinner in the garden. We ate burgers and talked about a lot of things. Life. Love. Childhood. Marriage.

What we didn't talk about was that M had an older brother named Patrick who was active in the military.

This past Sunday, I learned some terribly tragic news. I learned that Patrick, Sgt. Patrick Hamburger, my friend E's soon-to-be brother-in-law, M's brother, was among those thirty Americans tragically killed during an attempted helicopter rescue mission in Afghanistan. I heard this and though I didn't know Patrick, I felt sick to my stomach. When I learned that he left behind two little girls and the love of his life, I felt even more devastated. I asked my friend E if there was anything I could do, anything at all. A cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a neighborhood walk? And E asked for something else. She asked that I write something here, that I string together some words about a great guy, a life that was lost way too soon.

And I said of course. Of course I would write something. It would be inadequate and clumsy and a bit rambling, but I would do it. Of course I would.

*

Patrick Hamburger was raised in Lincoln, Nebraska. He joined the Nebraska National Guard as a high school senior and became an elite flight engineer. He was in Afghanistan for just two weeks before being personally chosen to join a team of U.S. Navy SEALs and other troops on their final mission to rush to the aid of a U.S. Army Ranger unit under fire from insurgents.

Patrick's younger brother Chris (my friend M's twin) has been quoted as saying, "He didn't have to go, and he wanted to go because his group was getting deployed. He wanted to be there for them. That's him for you."

Patrick, 30, was a consummate family man. He helped his love Candie raise her daughter Veronica and was smitten by his two-year-old baby girl Payton (pictured above and below). Patrick planned to propose to his love upon returning from Afghanistan.

"It doesn't come as a total surprise that he was trying to help people and that's how it all ended up happening," his brother Chris has also said.

Please click here for a recent article in the Chicago Sun-Times about Patrick and his fellow fallen soldiers. All details in this post, admittedly far from exhaustive, have been culled from this and other articles and details communicated by my friend E.

*

Take a minute and look at the picture above. The matching grins. The linked hands. The palpable daddy-daughter love. How can this picture not twist something in you, some deep sense of sadness, some piercing sense of pride, some true sense of thankfulness for those endlessly brave and beautiful souls like Patrick who are out there, on land and in air, risking it all, it all, so that we can sit here, living, loving, remembering.

In June, I will attend a wedding. And I know it will be a happy occasion. The bride will be gorgeous and the groom will glow. Mingling with the celebratory smiles, I'm sure there will be shadows and sadness. How can there not be? What I hope though is to see a little flower girl, her older sister, mother, aunt and uncle on the dance floor, twirling in its center way past their bedtimes, feeling the freedom a certain hero insisted upon. For them.

For all of us.

Sergeant Patrick Hamburger (1981-2011)

______________________________________________

As promised, I will return to regular blogging in September. In the meantime, I hope you take a moment to leave your comments and condolences here. And please spread this story (Think: Email, Facebook, Twitter, Google +, your own lovely blogs). I think it is important that we revere and remember those who have sacrificed, and continue to sacrifice, so much on our behalf.

** Donations to the Patrick Hamburger Memorial Fund - which has been established for Patrick's family - can be made by check or via PayPal. Please make all checks payable to: Patrick Hamburger Memorial Fund. Checks may be deposited at any U.S. Bank branch or mailed to U.S. Bank, Attn: Derrik Mather, 4818 South 108th Street, Omaha, NE 68137. Alternatively, please click HERE to make a donation via PayPal. **

Back to Blogging!

Happy August!