Friday, August 19, 2011

SSG James Christen - Celebrating a Life Taken Way Too Soon

SSG James Christen, a former 173rd, 2-503 Battle Co and HHC Co Paratrooper who was currently serving with 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Schofield Barracks, Hawaii was killed in action on July 19, 2011 in Kunar Province, Afghanistan.  SSG Christen's vehicle was hit by an IED.

Throughout the day and well into the night of Thursday August 18th former battle buddies and friends of James and Lauren made their way to Arlington, VA.  Most were on flights that were delayed.  Some arrived without luggage.  Others were delayed in cities on their way to Virginia.  But no one complained. 

Lauren talking with Jesse Murphree

Well into the night and Friday morning the group remembered James with one story after another.  Lauren, who is one of the strongest women I have ever met, added in a few stories of her own.  The laughs were endless as everyone recalled what an incredible wit and gift for sarcasm James possessed.

Lauren was enveloped in love but gave back as much as she got.

Towards the end of the evening (actually into Friday morning) Lauren's father, Bruce, told the story of the first time he met James.    

Bruce telling about his first meeting with James

We laughed and laughed.  I guess James really didn't make such a stellar impression that first meeting.  But Bruce gave him another shot.  Within months they were married.  Lauren and James were married for 8 years before his most untimely death in Afghanistan.  They were truly best friends.

Everyone I know who knew James has a huge hole in their heart right now.  Please keep Lauren, her family, James' family and all of the extended family, friends and his battle buddies in your prayers.  Above all please ALWAYS remember James for the Hero he is.  He gave everything he had for the nation.  The least we can do is remember him.

So today we will all gather at Arlington National Cemetery to lay James to rest and say our final good byes.

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