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10-13-08, 04:52 AM
'Goldstar' gives voice to survivors of Ohio Marines

Meeting families part of playwright's own grieving

By Jim Carney
Beacon Journal staff writer

Published on Monday, Oct 13, 2008

In August 2005, on the day of the funeral for Michael Tisdale's father in Lakewood, the Northeast Ohio community came together in Brook Park to remember Ohio's fallen Marines at a different service.

As he grieved over his own father, Michael Tisdale, 34, a Lakewood native who lives in Brooklyn, N.Y., began reading news accounts about the Reservists who had been killed in Iraq with the 3rd Battalion, 25th Marines.

In the coming months and years, Tisdale — an actor and writer — began to seek out the Marines' families and eventually spent 50 to 60 hours interviewing them about their fallen sons.

Using the words of their loved ones, Tisdale wrote a play about the Marines whose deaths three years ago stunned Ohio and the nation.

Goldstar, Ohio, will premiere Thursday at the Cleveland Public Theater's Gordon Square Theater at 6415 Detroit Ave. and will run through Nov. 8.

Tisdale said the play will be through the words of the families of four Marines who were killed. Among them was Tallmadge Marine Lance Cpl. Daniel Nathan ''Nate'' Deyarmin Jr., who was 22 when he was killed on Aug. 1, 2005. His mother, Edie Deyarmin, was interviewed extensively for the play, Tisdale said.

The deployment to Iraq that year included Akron's Weapons Company, a Marine Reserve unit based on Dan Street.

During that deployment, 48 Marines and sailors with or attached to the battalion were killed in action.

Tisdale said his family was given a flag at his father Arthur's funeral because his father served in the Navy and that act became the ''seed'' for the work that followed.

''You can't help but be affected'' when your family is given such a gift, he said.

Tisdale said he contacted 10 families of fallen Marines but ended up telling the stories of four.

''The play is wholly taken from transcripts,'' he said.

''Everyone who speaks, those are the words they spoke.''

From his conversations with those families and the friendships that resulted, Tisdale learned not to fear talking with those who are grieving, he said.

One of the mothers told him she cherishes the moments when

people remember her son and talk about him with her. She said it is a compliment when someone wants to talk to her about her son.

Edie Deyarmin said she is proud that her son's story was included in the play and she ''hopes people don't forget the guys that have fallen.''

She said she hopes the play ''raises the awareness of other families of what the war has cost.''

Tisdale was a ''wonderful person to sit down and talk to,'' she said. ''He was going through a similar loss with his father. I felt compelled to open up to him.''

Since her son's death, Deyarmin and her family and friends have run the Lance Cpl. Daniel Nathan Deyarmin Memorial Benefit Run every year and have raised about $70,000 for disabled and wounded veterans.

Tisdale said that researching his project and meeting the Marines' families became part of his own grieving process for his father.

''I was revisiting grief,'' he said.

The play is directed by Andy Paris.

For information about the play, go to http://www.cptonline.org or http://www.goldstarohio.com. For tickets, call 216-631-2727, Ext. 501. Tickets are $10 to $20.

Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or jcarney@thebeaconjournal.com.