(Update: Here is the Obituary from the Deseret News. )
The War on Terror has taken another life. This time, it hits me in a more personal way. For the first time, in the last 5 years, someone I have known personally has died while serving our nation.
Lt. Scott B. Lundell was killed last Saturday in Afghanistan. He was there helping to train the Afghan Army, and was a member of the Utah National Guard.
He joined the National Guard in 2004, after the War On Terror Began. He knew what the risks might be. Yet he loved America, and wanted to serve his country.
Like so many members of our military, he had so much to offer. He was college educated. In high school, he lettered on the football team. As a senior, he served as student body president. He served a mission in the Philippines for the LDS church. Later he would marry his high school sweetheart.
Like so many of his fellows, he was of the best and brightest that America has to offer. It really makes me upset to hear politicians, like John Kerry and Charles Rangel characterize the military as made up of individuals who had no other option but to join the military. Scott, like so many others, had every opportunity in the world, yet he chose to put it all on the line -- for us!
I knew Scott, and his family because their family lived about 3 houses away from my family as I was growing up. Scott came from a large family, eight children, if memory serves. I remember when Scott was born. We used to call him "Baby Scott". His mother, Margaret, used to watch my younger brother and sister after school until my dad would come home from work.
Later, Scott's dad, Norm, would become my Bishop when I was a youth. Norm was my Bishop when I left for my mission to Canada. Norm taught English at Cyprus High School, in the Salt Lake Valley, and for a time, I too, wanted to be a high school English teacher.
I last saw Scott about 6 or7 years ago. We were both attending a technical conference in Salt Lake City on a computer programming language. I remember saying hello to him, and visiting for a few minutes on a break from the seminar.
Now Scott leaves behind a wife, and four young children, all under the age of 10. Things will never be the same for them. Oh, they will have the support of family and friends, the church, the military, and even the community at large. I know they will have my thoughts and prayers, and the prayers of many others as well. But the reality is, that life will never be the same for them. Scott's wife now has the burden of caring for, and providing for her small children on her own. There are four children who will now grow up fatherless -- some of whom will scarcely be able to remember their father. This crisis will be the crucible of their lives. It will shape them from here on out. My hope and prayer is that the Lord will watch over and bless this young family. May he protect and keep them. May they safely return one day to be rejoined with their dad and husband, in our Father's Kingdom.
Scott's dad, Norm, passed away several years ago. I'm sure Norm was there to greet his hero son. I'm glad there is someone there on the other side to be with Scott.
I can think of no better tribute for Scott than this: "Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13)