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thedrifter
01-24-06, 03:12 PM
Tuesday, January 24, 2006 — Time: 3:01:56 PM EST
EMILY WOLFE
Mill Hall
Ultimate Sacrifice

I noticed that during this past holiday season, lots of people in Pennsylvania did what they could to support our troops at war as well as their families at home, and that is absolutely wonderful.

BUT, what about the families who have lost a loved one in this cruel war? Who is thinking about them? Who is standing next to them holding them up through this most difficult time?

I would like to share the following, written by a friend who lost her son, Michael A. Marzano of Greenville, the day before Mother’s Day last year. She became a volunteer for Packages from Home, a non-profit organization that supports our troops, when the war started and continues to volunteer to this day, even after the loss of her son. To her, and to all of the parents who have sacrificed so much for our country, no words can express the sorrow I feel as I read her tribute.

I am honored to be able to share her heartfelt words with you here:

“Michael, the name means “Who is like God.” I loved this name from the very beginning and gave the middle name Adam to accompany it. But, alas, Michael was anything but like the meaning of his name. He was all boy, rough, tough and without fear. He loved dirt, getting into trouble, and making his own path. He decided somewhere along the way that he was going to make his way into the world with his body. He joined football, wrestling, and boxing — the rougher the sport, the better. He loved to be competitive, but he was also known to worry about his opponent after a match was completed. While everyone would run up to congratulate him on his winning, he would go see how his opponent was doing. If Michael lost, he was humble enough to admit that ‘at least I lost to the best.’

“Michael was very much a comedian. He loved to make everyone laugh even if he was the joke of the event. His philosophy was ‘If I can’t laugh at myself, what is the point?’ He was known to attend parties and jump on a little motorcycle and ride around the back yard just to get people laughing. Here was this big 220-pound man on a little 40 cc kiddie motorcycle, just smiling from ear-to-ear and making everyone laugh.

“Michael lived life to the fullest and with his heart of gold, he would help with animals and kids. He was known to rescue dogs from shelters, and kids from boredom. Mariah, his niece, and Nicky, his nephew, were the targets for all of his antics. When I would talk to him about some of the ways he would treat them, he would say that life was tough and they had to learn somehow. So here was this big uncle, beating his 5- and 7-year-old relatives at checkers. They would get frustrated and he would laugh and tease them all the more until all of them were on the floor wrestling around.

“My memories of him provoking them end up making me smile. He had a way with kids that made them follow him wherever he would lead. They idolized their ‘Muncle Michael.’ Michael’s brother, Nic, could not put Michael on a large enough pedestal. Michael was his idol, his support system, his role model and now his hero.

“Michael had a special bond with his father, Al. They were more like friends than father and son. They made plans to go to Europe together, to ride motorcycles together and to spend Al’s retirement years together. Michael was going to take care of his dad just as Al had taken care of him.

“I was Michael’s ‘momma.’ He would come over to me, wrap his big arms around me as he towered over me and then just when I was ready for that snuggle, he would stick my head in his armpits and laugh. I remember saying, ‘Oh Michael...’ and with that, I would get the grin and the ‘I love you, momma.’

“Michael showed his emotions on his sleeve for his family. He was never too old or too manly to tell us he loved us in front of anyone. He wanted us to be proud of him and to be with him before he deployed to Iraq. He had volunteered to go with the promise of returning: ‘It is only going to be for seven months, mom and dad; don’t worry, I’ll be back. This is something I believe in and have to do. I love my country and need to make sure the bad guys are over there and not over here. I don’t want them to hurt my nephew and niece. Just trust me on this; the time will fly by and I’ll be back.’ Well, the time did fly by. Michael did come back, but not how we expected.

“We question how a young man, with so much going for him, would want to leave his family for a foreign land, but the decision suited Michael. He was going to help the underdogs. That was his way. Either in boxing, wrestling, saving an animal in the shelter, being an idol to all, or going off to war, he was going to help the ones who could not help themselves. He was never a hero to himself, but he will always be a hero to all who knew and loved him.

“He gave up a shot at going to the Olympics to be a Marine. His dad had served as a Marine in Vietnam and Michael was going to do his part too. He may not have been ‘like God,’ but he is now guarding the streets of Heaven, and again and for eternity, he is protecting all of us.

“My son is my hero. He is my idol and my strength. Who would have guessed the day he came into the world with that beautiful name and that beautiful smile, that he would have been the one to teach us all that life is not about the material items and is too short to fuss over the little stuff, but to live each day with a smile, a laugh and with love. You never know when your life will be over but, when all is said and done, it is your family and friends who are with you at the end.

“The hardest thing I have ever done was to bury Michael and not jump in with him. But the easiest thing I have ever done is love him and learn that it is okay to laugh at yourself, because if you can’t, who can? Thank you my son, my Michael Adam. My gift from God.

“Semper Fi, my son, Semper Fi.”

— Margy Bons, a proud mom of Sgt. Michael Marzano, USMC, who gave the ultimate sacrifice May 7, 2005.

Ellie