Monday, January 14, 2008

Dressed in Body Armor––U.S. Gold Star Mom, Debbie Lee, Makes History in Iraq

While Hand-Delivering Holiday Cards in Iraq, Debbie Lee Travels into the “Red Zone” to see Camp Marc Lee–Named in Honor of Her Son’s Courageous Final Battle

Western Iraq–Under the cover of darkness during the late night hours of December 29, Gold Star mother Debbie Lee made history as she exited a U.S. military helicopter in Western Iraq and stood on the grounds of a U.S. military camp named in her son’s honor–Camp Marc Lee. It has been a year-and-a-half since Debbie received the heart wrenching news that her son Marc, the first Navy SEAL killed in combat in Iraq, gave his life in the name of freedom and democracy. As the details of his final hours became clear, Debbie was not surprised to learn that Marc had stood in the direct line of fire on three separate occasions to save his fellow brothers-in-arms that day.

Debbie was part of Move America Forward’s contingent that traveled to Iraq to hand-deliver the final packages containing over 225,000 Christmas and holiday cards collected during a 40-city cross country tour that began in Sacramento, CA and ended at the World Trade Center Grounds in New York. Debbie joined the tour to continue to give her a son a voice and to support the men and women who are still serving overseas. Along the tour designed to collect over 100,000 holiday cards for the troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan–Debbie was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the American public. The tour was so successful in fact, that MAF more than doubled its goal as personalized cards from elementary schools, military groups, churches and everyday citizens came pouring in!

The delegation from Move America Forward (MAF) that visited the region included MAF Chairman Melanie Morgan, MAF Deputy Executive Director Mary Pearson, MAF Communications Director Danny Gonzalez and Gold Star Mother Debbie Lee. The delegation was embedded with the Army's 1-4 Cavalry and worked out of Forward Operating Base (FOB) Falcon in Western Iraq. During their two weeks in Iraq (returning on December 31), they traveled on daily patrols to speak with Iraqi citizens and interview Iraqi and American soldiers. They group was often overcome with pride as children hugged them and couples openly strolled the now-busy streets of Baghdad.

Reflecting back on her experience of traveling across the country and making history in Iraq, Debbie Lee says, “I am so honored to know that my son was a part of making these successes happen. He was truly my hero.”

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