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In memory – Chris Mosko – beloved son, brother, and husband

Posted by John on April 28, 2012

12 May 2007

Dear Chris,
It has been a long time since I wrote a letter to you but, as you go to your Commissioning into the Navy and as you graduate from Drexel, I wanted you to know all the things that I have felt and experienced over the last 23 years being with you. While so much of this seems like yesterday, it is hard to believe that we are almost a quarter of century into your life and past a half century in mine.

These past couples of years have impressed upon me how much I appreciate your company as you have become a young man. While we were in Delaware, it was nice to have that closeness so that we could have that quick visit. What is now a longer drive will potentially become half a globe of distance. We will miss you. I know that I will strive to find ways that we can spend time but these will become events. I will miss the everydayness of life with you there.

I want you to know how proud I am of your accomplishments. You have shown the ability to achieve and you have learned that it takes hard work and unerring integrity. Sometimes, you have had to learn this the hard way but the results speak for themselves. You have gained a great education and you have attained your goals as you head into your Navy career.

I am also thankful that young men and women like you choose to represent our country as we try to make the world a better place. There will always be those who detract from what we bring to the world stage but I have the utmost confidence and pride in you because you are all of the good things an American should be. Do not ever sacrifice your beliefs and integrity for someone else. They are what make you what you are and that is a very good thing.

As I look back over the years, it is easier for me to remember the simple, quiet times we spent together. Putting you in a pack at 4 months and going cross country skiing, pulling you in a sled, playing with Topper in the yard, watching Lassie and the Wizard of Oz, putting a worm on a hook so you could fish, singing in church, the drives to soccer matches, driving to look at colleges. While they do not seem like much, they are what make life truly worth living – simple, quiet moments patchworked into beliefs, dreams, and being.

Thank you for recognizing that we must protect our ideals of equal rights to life, freedom, and the pursuit of happiness. What you are doing now allows so many others to pursue their dreams without limits. Do this with the pride and integrity you have shown and you cannot help but be successful in everything you do.

Finally, live your faith in God and Jesus Christ. This provides such a strong foundation for facing the vagaries and challenges of the world. I know you will do this. I saw this in you when you read your “Letter to Parents” at Baccalaureate. Hard to imagine being more touched and prouder than that moment but here we are at another time of pride happiness and, yes, some sadness. You have not been our “little boy” for a while but this really puts the stamp on the transition.

Your mother and I love you very much. I am very proud to be your father as well as a friend. Nothing can ever change that and you can always, always count on me for support in whatever you may need.

With more love and admiration than you can ever imagine,

Dad

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12 Responses to “In memory – Chris Mosko – beloved son, brother, and husband”

  1. Kevin M. Eitel said

    John, this shows the love between father and son, and how proud you were of Chris and his accomplishments. Chis’ love of life, and belief in God are what helped him accomplish what he did in his life that has ended too soon. Know that he served proudly; fought for his country, and is now home with God. Your folks will look after him.

    We will celebrate his life, and are thankful for service to God and Country. There are few that choose the path Chris chose; it is something to be proud of…

    Know that your extended family and friends are here for you. We pray that God emparts His compassion on you, Gayle, Amanda, and Meredith in this difficult time.

    With deep Sympathy,

    Kevin

  2. Mandy said

    What an amazing legacy to pass from father to son and from son to all the lives hereafter. His sacrifice is not the end, but the beginning. What is sorrow and pain to us is but a joyful rejoicing in eternity. Cheers echo throughout the heavens to welcome a child home, and that is our hope- the peaceful river to which we are led by our Shephard during times of great sadness.

    To Amanda, know that you are not alone. While your sorrow is unique, it joins with the sorrow felt by us all, for you and with you. While I didn’t know Chris personally, I knew him through you. I love you and so I loved him, because he made you happy.

    To Chris, I thank you- for the exemplary life you lived, for the sacrifice you made in life as well as in death, and for the example you set for us all.

  3. Leslie Fisher said

    3.Leslie Fisher said
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    April 28, 2012 at 15:21
    John, Gayle, Meredith and Amanda,

    There just simply are no words to describe my deepest sympathy for all of you at this tragic time. Chris was such a wonderful person in all ways, intelligent, thoughtful, loving and easy going. I will always remember Chris and Amanda’s wedding and how you and Chris were able to pull together within hours an incredibly lovely and special event. Chris and Amanda’s calm and composure during what other brides and grooms would have considered a catastrophe showed me how much they loved each other and not to “sweat the small stuff” and in the end love triumphs. I feel incredibly blessed to have known Chris and how happy Amanda was with him.

    I would like to say on behalf of all the Fisher family that we are all with heavy hearts and are at the ready for anything that we can do to help at this very sorrowing time.

    With much love,
    Leslie Fisher

    The words from this hymn always make me tear up as well as they bring me comfort…

    On Eagles Wings
    You who dwell in the shelter of the Lord,
    Who abide in His shadow for life,
    Say to the Lord, “My Refuge,
    My Rock in Whom I trust.”

    And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
    Bear you on the breath of dawn,
    Make you to shine like the sun,
    And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
    The snare of the fowler will never capture you,
    And famine will bring you no fear;
    Under His Wings your refuge,
    His faithfulness your shield.

    And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
    Bear you on the breath of dawn,
    Make you to shine like the sun,
    And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
    You need not fear the terror of the night,
    Nor the arrow that flies by day,
    Though thousands fall about you,
    Near you it shall not come.

    And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
    Bear you on the breath of dawn,
    Make you to shine like the sun,
    And hold you in the palm of His Hand.
    For to His angels He’s given a command,
    To guard you in all of your ways,
    Upon their hands they will bear you up,
    Lest you dash your foot against a stone.

    And He will raise you up on eagle’s wings,
    Bear you on the breath of dawn,
    Make you to shine like the sun,
    And hold you in the palm of His Hand.

    Reply

  4. Kathe & Tim O'Donovan said

    So beautifully written, as parents we have those same feelings but could never have said it so well. It must make you feel so wonderful to know that Chris knew how you felt. You gave him a gift that he could keep forever and no one could ever take away. You are in our prayers and we know he will be watching over you.

  5. Mary hadley said

    Dear John –

    When I saw this on the news I wondered if there was a connection. What an outstranding young man your son was. I pray for you and your family. There are never any good words when a child is lost. I hope wonderful memories will help dull the pain. I’m grateful for Chris’ service to our country. His faith in God is inspiring. I’m sure it was a beacon for all around him.

    Blessings to you and your family.

    Mary

  6. Jean Kase said

    John,
    I’m sorry to learn of your loss and grateful for Chris’s service to our country. Please know that you and your family are in my prayers.
    Jean

  7. Amelia Blake-Dowdle said

    John,
    I’m so sorry for your loss. I said prayers for you and your family in church today and I will continue to do so.
    It’s unbelievably disheartening when such wonderful people are taken from us at such an early age. Please let me know if there is anything I can do for you and your family. Take care, Amelia Blake-Dowdle and family.

  8. Jeff Arywitz said

    John, when Luis informed the GTEN group of the loss of your son, my heart sank. It is so sad when our country’s best lose their lives because of their dedication to country and freedom. My heart goes out to you and your family, you are in my thoughts.
    Jeff

  9. dad said

    Dear John,
    We lived behind your family in Eau Claire and our son Aaron swam with Chris. He called me yesterday with the tragic news. i wanted to express our deepest sympathy but also our gratitude for your son Chris who was an outstanding man and person of God.
    Peace and prayers,
    Mike and Patti Gregerson

  10. Judith Labombarda said

    John…I am so sad to learn of your great loss. Your letter shows the depth of your relationship with your son. I was very touched by it. I will pray for peace for you and your family…Judith

  11. John Detling said

    Mr. Mosko,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family. I am deployed here to Northern Afghanistan and, although I don’t live on the same Base that he operated out of, I had exchanged emails with your son as recently as Monday, 23 April. In the brief exchanges that I had with Chris, he struck me as a very professional and competant Naval Officer. His concern for the welfare of his men was also quite evident to me. I want you to know that American service members are not the only ones appreciate your family’s sacrifice. There are vast numbers of Afghan citizens who deplore such violent acts of cowardice and likewise the men who perpetuate this kind of behavior. Your son made a difference in this country and we will not forget him.

    MAJ John Detling

  12. Mike Gregerson said

    John,
    I wanted to send you a blog post that my son Aaron wrote on Memorial Day which talks about his experience with Chris when they swam together in Eau Claire:

    Memorial Day
    by Aaron

    Today’s post is going to take on a slightly different tone from me complaining about training (or lack thereof) this past week, or providing little updates on things gone right (Kacey’s got a road bike now!) or things gone wrong (I managed to drop my bikes off of bike hooks I tried to recently install in my garage. (Story to come later when we can all laugh about it.)) Instead, today I’m going to share a bit of a story with you, as it relates both to my life in triathlon and Memorial Day.
    Many know that I grew up a swimmer – albeit initially forced upon me at the tender age of 9 years old – but it was the one sport that I had tried (after many, many, many attempts trying other activities) that I felt comfortable in and eventually grew into. Blame it on my mother’s insistence that her kids receive proper swim lessons from age 6 months on up, or my father’s persistence to keep me learning new things and growing in the sport, but swimming took on an important facet in my life, and shaped a lot of my adolescent years. Swimming is the one reason I can attribute willingness to jump into the sport of triathlon so easily, and at least one reason I feel as though I have a leg-up on much of the field of age-groupers that I compete against.
    I started swimming competitively in 4th grade, on the Eau Claire YMCA team. I continued to advance in that arena through the remainder of elementary school and middle school, and began swimming with the Eau Claire Memorial High School (ECMHS) team in the fall of 1997, my freshman year.
    Now, it should come as no surprise that competing on the swim team is not going to gain you the most popularity or make you the most friends in school, and will actually make you an easier target to be made fun of for those that have nothing better to do with their time, or feel inferior because they know that they couldn’t hack the 2-per-day practice schedule the ECMHS required of their swimmers. (Read: basketball players.)
    However, there were a few individuals on both the YMCA team in my younger years and the high school team in later years that eased the social burden of being a swimmer a little bit. One of these people was a guy by the name of Chris Mosko. Chris was one year behind me in school, and he and his family moved to Eau Claire sometime during my middle school years. They actually ended up living kitty-corner behind my family’s house.
    Chris always seemed to have an air of humble confidence about him, and a knack for knowing what to say and when, which I imagine is why people gravitated toward him in the first place, and made him one of the more popular people to be seen with around school. He was a talented athlete, competing not only on the swim team, but as a soccer player as well. He was a gifted musician, and incredibly intelligent.
    Admittedly, I haven’t spoken to Chris in 13 years, since my family departed Eau Claire at the end of my sophomore year of high school due to my father’s job transition. And now, it won’t be possible for me to do so.
    Late last month, I found out that Chris Mosko made the ultimate sacrifice for this beautiful country that we call home. He was serving in Afghanistan as the commander of a Navy platoon who’s tasks were to identify and dispose of Improvised Explosive Devices. Chris and his platoon were fulfilling this mission when his he gave his life for all of us and the freedom we enjoy.
    So, this Memorial Day, I am remembering a friend I once had in Chris Mosko.
    I have many great memories of Chris from both the swimming side of our lives and the more social side. I’ll always remember how he was willing to take on any challenge from a fellow classmate to restore some social dignity to the swim team, even though, as swimmers, we ran around half-naked most of the time. I’ll remember the way-too-early morning rides to 5 AM swim practice that we took together during my sophomore year, and the relief of riding home from evening swim practice, happy to be done with another day of hard workouts.
    For me, Chris was an inspiration for how to treat people around me, and how to deal with the “bullies” at that age who constantly felt the need to mock those of us in non-mainstream sports. His attitude and grace under pressure was something that I tried very hard to take with me as I left Eau Claire and continued on swimming at Wayzata High School, but also gave me a deeper sense of pride of what I was participating in and how it could affect my life.
    For that, and for everything Chris did after our paths forked in the road, I thank him.

    We continue to pray for Chris and your family,
    Mike Gregerson

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