I forgot the date ~ 26


I may have forgotten the date, but I’ve never forgotten the day. The day that my friend Kathy, heard the news that her beloved Kyran was killed in the war. They were a homeschooling family. He had already been gone 9 months in a deployment to Iraq as a Blackhawk pilot for Operation Iraqi Freedom.


We were in the planning stages for our move to the country. We knew nothing about living in the country – NOTHING. The Kennedys were our homesteading homeschooling friends. They were the first people that we ever knew that had a cow named Rump Roast to remind everyone that he was going into the freezer someday. They killed their own chickens and turkeys… at their house… and then ate them. I thought there were laws against that. They purposely kept bees. They didn’t swat them or worry about getting stung. They valued them for how they pollenated the plants and created healthy honey. They introduced us to a lot of things. We were really hoping that Kyran would come out and help us do some work around the farm and teach us a few things.


He had taught Joe how to play chess along with his son, Chris. He had invited our homeschool group out to the Army airfield so that he could let the kids sit in the helicopter, teach them about how it was used and answer their questions. Facing a group of moms with children of all ages may have intimidated lesser men. But Kyran in his usual laidback, fun-loving manner was a natural. Chris and Joe explored the Blackhawk with the other excited children while his daughter Katie just took it all in stride. Katie and my Jake were just preschoolers at the time so they may not remember that day, but I’ve got a picture with all of them gathered around the helicopter listening to Kyran. And then came the last baby for each of us. Kyran and Kathy had Kevin while Tony and I had Jonathan. I can remember Kathy and Kyran coming over to our house when Kevin was just an infant. That was before he went to Korea for a year. I thought that was pretty rough. I couldn’t imagine how Kathy was going to make it without Kyran to help for so long. He was such a great dad. I remember that for a little bit Kevin was sleeping in the infant carrier while we ate. Kyran was watching him and I made some comment about how tough it was going to be for him missing some of those firsts. He said that he’d been talking to Kevin and telling him not to walk before he got home. He told Kathy to tie some weights around his ankles or something. And then as Kevin started fussing, Kyran held him and tried to entertain him for a while so that Kathy could eat. Yep, he was an officer and a gentleman.


So just that week before Kyran died, Chris was talking to Joe about all of the plans that he and his dad had made for when he returned. Plans to go camping and hunting. Father/son kind of stuff. But then those men in uniform showed up at their door. They had already been doing school that day like normal and then those men showed up at their door with the news that changed their lives.


Quickly we all did what we could to gather around them. Homeschooling friends, church friends, military friends and family. While none of our grief could compare with Kathy, the kids and their family, we grieved too. Kyran was a great guy. And yes he loved flying helicopters. But he wanted to come home. We all wanted him to come home. So many prayers had been lifted up for his protection and safe return home. Many of us had a lot of explaining to do to our kids about why God allowed Mr. Kyran to die. Many of us struggled with the same questions in our own way.


We all rallied together though, knowing that Kyran was a strong Christian and that truly he was home- at the home we all long for. He was in a better place, but we were the ones left in the place that just wasn’t as great without him in it. Nonetheless, we just had to be thankful for the fun, sense of adventure, great talks and friendships that we all shared because of him. He had made every place that he had been a better place because he cared about others and was always doing something.


I don’t think that I’ve ever grieved for someone outside of my family like I did for Kyran. I grieved because my family had looked forward to many more great times with them. I grieved because my friend’s heart was broken and she was facing the future as a single parent. I grieved because their kids had lost their dad. I grieved because I realized that five other families that day had lost men in their lives too. It made me look at my husband and my three sons differently and with new appreciation.


Kathy and Kyran didn’t have regrets. They had loved each other deeply and valued their relationship. I guess when your husband is going up in a helicopter in rough territory so often, it kind of puts perspective on the petty things. I’m sure their only regret was that they didn’t have more time together. At least the time that they had together was rich. And so all of us touched by Kyran, Kathy and the kids’ love, were reminded to cherish our relationships and not to take our days together for granted.


So as I realized that it’s actually been two years already, I can’t believe that I missed the actual date. I only know that the date wasn’t what was so important to me and to so many others. What we remember is Kyran, Kathy, Chris, Kaitlyn and Kevin. We remember their family’s sacrifice for our country and for the Iraqi people. When the Iraqi people showed their blue fingers as proof that they had gotten to vote, we remembered what it took to help them achieve that freedom. Losing a husband and father is a lot of sacrifice to ask from one family, but Kyran leaves a legacy of unselfish love. And we are all challenged to love and serve others more no matter the cost.


Greater love hath no man than this,that a man lay down his life for his friends.

John 15.13


 

Army Chief Warrant Officer, CW3 Kyran E. Kennedy

 

Here is a great story that our local paper did about Kyran.

And this is a great one about the one year anniversary.

 

 


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26 thoughts on “I forgot the date ~

  • Anonymous

    I had no idea it had already been two years. My heart still breaks for Kathy. I can't imagine being a single parent. Your article is thoughtful and very loving. I look at Kyran's picture and miss him even though I didn't know him well. In fact I remember meeting him only once when we were out at their house. He came home for the day and made an impression on me even in those few minutes I got to talk to him. It was chicken killing time because all the pots were out and the rope was hanging there. All I could think of was YUCK!

    Kathy is a brave soul. I admire the choices she and Kyran had made for their family. I also remember that Kathy and I were discussing boiling corn silk for curing bladder infections the day I met Kyran. It's amazing what sticks with you about people. I wonder if she knows just how many people their family has influenced.

    "Kyran…..until we see you again!"

    Love,

    Julie

    Edited by Juliestew on Nov. 14, 2005 at 8:24 AM

  • Melissa

    Well, there was MY boo hoo session for the day. I have wondered what it must be like for her…I can’t really comprehend it. All I know is how blessed I am that I don’t have to know.

    -M

  • JoelKing

    Nancy, thanks for sharing this… I remember the day, as well… Sometimes, we have to remind ourselves that even in our troubles, things could be worse. However, through faith and prayer, we must continue to help those among us who have suffered.

  • Boltbabe

    Amazing to me that the tears I weep are those of sadness for the family left behind. Their bravery and sacrifice for my family’s life is beyond words. While I know he is in Heaven, I must pray for those left behind. He clearly touched many, as I can tell from your post AND the comments here. God Bless~!

  • Heidi

    You expressed it beautifully. Kyran will never be forgotten by those who knew him, that’s for sure. And I’m just as sure that each of us has at least one very strange memory of him and his family, since they’re just that wonderfully different sort of people. :)

  • Candace

    Nancy,

    That was absolutely beautiful. I will never forget that day either. I had heard on the Fox News Channel about the Blackhawk being shot down, and I had just the worst feeling, but didn’t know why. A few hours later, you called and told me it was Kyran. I never had the privilege of meeting him. But I certainly feel like I knew him because of all the wonderful stories I have heard about him. I still love to hear Kathy talk about him–they have such wonderful memories together. Thanks for putting into words what we all feel.

  • livin4Him6

    I think I remember when that helicopter went down, I remember hearing about it on the news. I prayed then for the families involved and you have reminded me to keep praying for the family members of the fallen soldiers.

  • Grace

    Thank you for posting this wonderful tribute to an “officer and a gentleman.” My neighbors have been fighting a different kind of battle for 4 years now. Their son was diagnosed with leukemia. Just in the last couple of weeks, the doctors have said that they have done everything they can do. Call in Hospice. Plan his funeral. I hurt for my friend. I wish I knew what to do to help. Do you remember anything you did that helped? I guess at times like this there isn’t much except maybe just be there.

    Micah, too, loves Jesus. I know he will go to a much better home…one with no suffering. No Chemo…. But his family, friends, and neighbors just wish he could stay a little longer….

  • creech7s

    Thanks so very much for sharing your heart with us, so we can pray for this dear family. I posted a note to link here on my blog (tried trackbacks but guess I don’t know how yet – sorry) – I hope you don’t mind. I just feel like every American needs to know from a real, live family what sacrifices are made, and you have said it so beautifully here. Thank you.

    Our prayers will be with them for a long time.

  • takingthechallenge

    My heart aches for his family and friends who miss him terribly. May we never forget those (including their families and friends) who paid the ultimate price not only for our freedom but for the freedoms of others.

  • Juldos

    What a beautiful tribute! I will keep Kathy and her children in my prayers during this holiday season. I know they miss him terribly. My dad died in an airplane crash when I was 12; so in some ways I know how they miss him.

    Julie D.

  • Neil

    Nancy

    I just received the link to this site and I wanted to thank you, and others, for the warm and loving tributes you posted here. You have, indeed captured my brother’s essence in a manner I had not previously believed possible. Kyran was, indeed, a remarkable man; husband, father, son, brother, friend and soldier. And although I was unhappy that he lived so far away, I had never seen him happier or more fulfilled than he was living on the farm with Kathy and his children and amongst you, his friends. His life was truly blessed.

    Please, in memory of him, keep those fallen, and the men and women still serving in our armed forces, and their families close in your prayers.

  • iluvtheland

    I want to thank you for this post, as it puts into words so beautifully the sacrifices made by so many for ME, for MY family. I am humbled that this man, whom I never knew, was willing to put his life on the line to protect my family, and to help give the Iraqi people a chance at the kind of life that we here in America so often take for granted. I hope his family knows how much that means to so very many other people, and that I wish there were some way to say thank you.

    Kathy

  • dolphindancer

    I just came across your posting about fallen soldier, Kyran E. Kennedy. What a wonderful tribute to your friend, a heroic fallen solider. He sounds like someone our family would’ve loved to meet. My husband was also in the military. He often worked with helicopter pilots at Los Alamitos Naval Air Station.

    My oldest son is in the military now. Please pray for him (David, a U.S. Marine).

    Susan

  • Anonymous

    I just ran across this blog, and wanted to thank you, Nancy, for writing such a great tribute. I often think of the Kennedy family and will always treasure the frinedship we shared. Josey still calls Chris “Cribber” and Kaitlyn “Kinna”; that’s how she remembers them.

    She has four friends who have lost their dad’s in Iraq now. It is difficult to explain to a child, yet somehow we do. Her dad returned safely, but her friend’s did not.

    I have memories of our friends that will last a lifetime. Moments we spent with friends, getting to know each other and enjoying each others company. And, I am thankful.

    Sandra

  • eyecorn

    What an incredible tribute to an incredible husband, father, son, brother, friend. Thank you for linking to it from the HSM newesletter. We all need this reminder that our freedom comes at a price. I pray Kathy and her children are doing ok.

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for reminding me of what is important in life! The sacrifice that the men and women of the military make to protect our freedoms is the big picture. My heart goes out to Kyran's family and to all who have lost someone in the military! The Butler Family

  • RazzleTazz

    Thank you so much for sharing this link through HSM. This is especially touching for me as we lost our dear friend's son this year in Iraq. He was killed when an IED exploded under the humvee he was driving. Kyran left a wonderful legacy for his children in his honor and bravery while serving our country. Freedom does come at a dear cost, sometimes more than we ever imagine. I'm overwhelmed at the sacrifices so many families are making for our freedom. Thank you!

  • Bella'

    Thank you for writing this and reminding us of those wonderful "heros" we have here on earth. I never knew him but felt in my heart the love he had for his family and God. I will keep his family in my prayers for they have a long journey ahead of them until they can be joined as a family again.

    I send the family the best wishes. I hope they have had the courage and strength to go on…

    Through Christ all things are possible!!!

  • Christine

    Thank you for your beautifully written piece. I still grieve for Kyran and always will. I was lucky to share special times with the Kennedys in Fayetteville and was there the day Kyran delivered Katy. Such a smile – proud father!
    Such a man, unforgettable.