As I sit thinking about my son, Chris, I realize all rhe important lessons I will carry away from this tragedy. Killed by an IED in a place mnay of us will ever really kmow about or understand, it is easy to question many things. However, I do not question that he was following what he loved to do. Over the past weeks as this has unfolded, friends, teammates, family, and Navy leadership have talked about him and I heard many things I knew, some I suspected, and some revelations.
So why was Chris the man he was today?
Pride – Chris had intense pride – in his team, in his fellow officers. Because of that, he would stand up for his team in the face of physical harm if it meant protecting them.
Integrity- Chris was blessed with this early in life. he realized this is one of those things that defines a person, and if harmed, it is almost impossible to retrieve.
Connectivity – I have learned that Chris was a catalyst for bringing people together in ways that drive long term friendships. He knew how to connect with people, make them feel wanted and then introduce them to others creating a community.
Love – Chris always had love in his life and he still did. He loved us as parents and his sister, Meredith. He loved his Grandmother, uncles, aunts and cousins. And he was able to show and express that. He loved the men and women with whom he served.
But most of all, he loved his life with Amanda. The depth of that love and the love returned is evident in the depth of the pain faced today. Of all things on this list, this love defines the best part of who he was today.
So, for those of you who know him, lift a glass sometime in honor to a fallen war hero who understood how to best lead people. But when you do, remember his love, his bright eyes, his smile and hear his laugh. That was Chris.