I knew Arronn Fields only a little bit.
I know the rest of his family a lot better.
Arronn Fields died a hero.
What does it mean to be a hero? The definition of hero I like is, "When an ordinary person does extraordinary things."
What did Arronn do to earn this distinction?
Arronn Fields volunteered to serve his country during time of war. That is something the vast majority of us never do.
To voluntarily become a member of the warrior class, particularly in time of war, certainly merits a mark of distinction among the populace of this nation.
Among the members of the warrior class, the majority of those who serve never find themselves in the midst of combat. That is not to say that they are not shipped over to the place of conflict or do not otherwise serve important roles.
A military functions as a single cohesive unit, succeeding or failing on its weakest links. Every position is necessary. But among those who serve, veterans of combat are regarded with a measure of honor by their peers.
It has been recently said by a broadcaster that dying for your country doesn't necessarily make you a hero.
I cannot agree with that. Although, General George S. Patton insisted that, "The object of war is not to die for your country. Rather, it is to make that other dumb son of a bitch die for his."
But Spc. Arronn Fields was not just another casualty of war. Spc. Arronn Fields had been deployed into combat and had already successfully completed his entire tour of duty.
He was free to go home.
I learned that his mother wanted him to come home, asked him to come home.
But it is my understanding that Arronn told his mother, "Mom, I'm not married. I don't have any children. Most of these guys do. If I don't volunteer to stay, one of them will have to."
Arronn could have come home a combat veteran and been a hero to all of his family and friends. Instead, because of his extraordinary decision to stay in hostile territory, today, a wife has her husband. Today, a child has his/his father.
From what I know about him, as he grew up here in Clay County, he was considered by most to be a fairly ordinary kind of guy.
While I don't know the circumstances in which Spc. Arronn Fields received his fatal wounds, I know that he took one extraordinary decision after another, did one extraordinary act after another, and because of that, while parents mourn the loss of a son, a brother and a sister mourns the loss of a brother, a husband, and a father is alive today.
Spc. Fields, God's peace be with you and your family. As you approach Heaven, I have no doubt the Marines guarding the gates will snap to attention as you approach and St. Peter escorts you in.
It is my hope that here on Earth, what you did will be recognized for the extraordinary and heroic acts that they were.