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Day 151 After Desert Storm - Remembering Donnie

My best friend, Donnie Tillar, was the one who convinced me to go to West Point.  Donnie was a year older than I was.  Thanks to his persuasiveness, I joined my childhood friend at West Point as part of the Corps of Cadets.  We both served in Operation Desert Storm. Every year, as Memorial Day approaches, I think about him.

Because of his influence in my life, I want to share my Memorial Day tribute to Donnie.

A Memorial Day Tribute

Donnie’s Blackhawk helicopter was tragically shot down during the last hours of Operation Desert Storm.  In February of 1991, Donnie passed away. Yet, it would not be until several weeks later that I received word, as we did not have the luxury email back then. My father, The General, was the one to let me know what had happened to Donnie.

I kept a journal while I served in Operation Desert Storm.  Below is an entry from my journal which I wrote on March 14th, 1991—the day I found out about Donnie.  I was a young, brash and broken 25-year-old 1st Lieutenant in the Field Artillery when I wrote it.

I shared this same journal entry at a memorial service I organized with some high school friends, back in May of 1991. I now share it every Memorial Day Weekend here.

Memorial Day is a day reserved for our men and women who have died in service to our country. It is a day to thank those men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much so you and I have the freedoms we enjoy.