You’ve become acquainted with Corporal Brett Sanders, a longtime family friend and former neighbor, through a post about his coming of age, in which I share how the first hints of his maturation became evident. I’m still in touch with Brett, (we know him as “Bert,” a nickname my mother-in-law coined when she failed to recall his given name) though lately, mostly through facebook or an occasional surprise phone call, which I relish.
Recently, Bert’s public image has cast a much wider net as he graced the pages of People magazine in a touching photo with his fiance’, Lacey (above) as he “ships out” for another tour in Afghanistan. It was a thrill to see him so prominently featured in such a popular publication.
From an early age, Brett wanted to be a soldier. He had pictures of military aircraft in his room, loved air shows and always spent time with Marines at their Ohio State Fair booth, enthusiastically doing pull or push ups trying to win a T-Shirt. His favorite game at the fair was the Shooting Gallery, which even though I told him his chances of winning were small, he always tried.
Bert can get along with anyone. His easy manner and quick smile are endearing. I truly miss having him live across the street and look forward to hearing from him, as does my entire family. At most every phase of my boy’s early development, Bert was there to share, reflect and participate. He’s central to many happy stories and for my sons, lifelong memories. Brett will always hold a special place in our hearts.
As you embark on yet another of your life’s excursions, we wish you well, my friend. May your load be bearable, your task tolerable and your safe return swift. You and Lacey are in our thoughts ans prayers.
As you look up at the nighttime sky, revisit the glow-in-the-dark stars that still stick to the ceiling in what once was Ben and Steve’s room, where you all used to wrestle and play and recall the peace of a far less complicated time. We love you, buddy. Be well.