I have a thin piece of steel. It is 6 inches long, 1/2 inch wide, and 1/32 inch thick.
It holds 77 little symbols that have no significant meaning when they stand alone.
2 periods— . .
When arranged in a particular order, these letters, numbers, and periods tell of a fallen warrior.
These letters, numbers, and periods serve as a reminder of a fallen son, brother, and husband.
He was a soldier.
He was a leader.
He was a mentor.
He was one of my closest friends in the army.
SSG IOASA F. TAVAE
1ST BN 5TH INF RGT 1ST BDE COMBAT TEAM
25TH INF DIV 2 APRIL 2005 IRAQ
I wear this bracelet as a reminder. I don’t wear it everyday, and it is not the only one that I have. I don’t need bracelets to remember my friends, but sometimes these bracelets help me keep things in perspective.
When something is challenging…
When something is frustrating…
When something is stressful…
A bad day…
These bracelets remind me that today is not as hard, not as stressful, and not as bad as March 11th, 2003; April 2nd, 2005; August 22nd, 2007; April 1st, 2008; April 29th, 2008; May 1st, 2008; May 15th, 2008; August 10th 2008; or probably half a dozen other dates that I could list.
I learned of his death through an email from our former platoon leader.
Tavae was leading men in combat in Iraq. I was in Afghanistan.
29, of Pago Pago, American Samoa; assigned to the 1st Battalion, 5th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.; killed April 2 when his unit was attacked by enemy forces using small-arms fire in Mosul, Iraq.