Remembering our fallen soldiers


Dear Captain Fuller, In science this week, we’re talking about the human body, and I hope your human body doesn’t get shot, but I have homework to do.”
“Dear Caption (sic) Fuller, You are the most kind man in the world to risk your life. For many, it’s the ultimate sacrifice. You do the most for us, so we won’t ever get attacked in the middle of English.”
I received these letters from these precious children while deployed to Iraq eight years ago during my second tour there in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. I thank God every day that my human body did not get shot, and I also thank Him for those men and women who indeed paid the ultimate sacrifice.
As a platoon leader, I lost two of my soldiers when they were hit by an improvised explosive device on April 4, 2004, during my first deployment. Philip Rogers died instantly, and Tyanna Felder died from her injuries three days later. There’s not a day that goes by that we don’t think about our fallen warriors and friends.
I try to focus on faith, family, and friends in some way, shape, form or fashion in this column, but today, with respect to Memorial Day, I’m adding freedom to the mix. Where would we be without the men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice? What freedoms would we have? Where would you be?
With respect to my fallen warriors, whether or not we should have been in Iraq or not is beside the point. We were there. Philip and Tyanna raised their right hand and volunteered to serve their nation so that you, your child, or any or your loved ones wouldn’t have to serve involuntarily, and for that we should be forever grateful. Salute.
I have the incredible honor of being the guest speaker at the Memorial Day services in downtown Opelika on Monday, May 30 at 10 a.m. I’ve spoken or performed comedy in a lot of places for a wide range of folks, but as honored and excited as I am to do this, I’m equally as terrified, but I look forward to the challenge.
“If a man does his best, what else is there?” General George S. Patton
Some people are unaware of the true meaning of Memorial Day and lump many of the military related holidays together. While those grateful Americans mean well, it’s important not to confuse Memorial Day with Veterans Day; Memorial Day is a day of remembering the men and women who died in the line of duty, while Veterans Day celebrates the service of all U.S. military veterans
“Another reason I would like to thank you is because you are serving the nation. Without people like you who join the military, our country would be bad.”
I think this last letter really sums it up. So, to each of you who have ever worn the uniform, we thank you every day for what you have done for this great nation, and we’ll throw you a celebration come November 11, but Memorial Day is for our brothers and sisters from every walk of life who paid the ultimate sacrifice, so that we can sleep in peace at night when we lay down our head. That debt can never be repaid, we are forever grateful and will never forget.
Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at For more information, please visit


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