2nd Lieutenant PETER H. BURKS
Peter Haskell Burks from Celina, 26, was serving as a Platoon Commander with the Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Iraq. On Wednesday 14 November, 2007, he was commanding a unit just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad when his vehicle was hit by an Improvised Explosive Device (roadside bomb). Peter received shrapnel wounds to his head. Five of his men were also wounded. Lt. Burks died at the scene. Peter received a bachelor's degree from Texas A&M in 2003, and joined the Army in 2006. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in October 2006 and served at Fort Sill, Okla. In July 2007, he was assigned to the 2nd Cavalry Regiment in Vilseck, Germany, and had been in Iraq for about three months.
Peter and Melissa "Missy" Haddad
|2nd Lieutenant Peter Haskell Burks, age 26 of Celina, Texas was killed in action while serving with the 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment in Iraq on November 14, 2007. Peter is survived by his fiancée, Melissa Haddad of McKinney, Texas; father and stepmother, Alan and Laura Burks of Celina, Texas; mother, Jackie Merck of McKinney, Texas; sisters, Alison Burks of Celina, Texas, Sarah Burks of Dallas, Texas; brother, Zachary Burks of Celina, Texas; sister, Georgia Burks of Celina, Texas; grandmother, Irene Merck, Fayetteville, Georgia; grandfather, Haskell Burks of Fayetteville, Georgia; aunts and uncles, Brenda and Jim Brooks, Carlton and Bonnie Hays, Michael and Susan Burks, Laurie and Ivan Killen and Tim Merck; nephew, Oliver Lennon Denson. The family will receive friends during a Visitation on Friday, November 23, 2007 from 6-8 PM at Trinity Christian Academy, 17001 Addison Road, Addison, Texas 75001. Funeral Services will be held at 11:00 AM on Saturday, November 24, 2007 at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco.|
Celina Soldier Killed While Serving in Iraq
By Stefanie White, McKinney Courier-Gazette
(Created: Tuesday, November 20, 2007 12:33 AM CST)
For 2nd Lt. Peter Haskell Burks,
his decision to serve his country in the Army was a long time in the
when i told pete that
it makes me mad that many americans don't recognize the sacrifices
STRYKER BRIGADE NEWS
PATRIOT GUARDS tribute to Peter Burks.
Fallen soldier's wish list for comrades draws donors
09:41 PM CST on Thursday, November 29, 2007
Three days before he was killed in Iraq, 2nd Lt. Peter Burks sent home a wish list for his fellow soldiers.
The newly promoted leader of the 17-member Thunder Platoon surveyed his troops and tallied about 20 desired items, from cookies to playing cards.
"I'm doing my best to be a good leader here, and that includes taking care of the guys," he wrote in an e-mail to his fiancée, Melissa Haddad of McKinney.
Lt. Burks, 26, died Nov. 14 when a roadside bomb struck his unit's vehicle outside Baghdad's Green Zone. He was laid to rest Saturday at a cemetery in Melissa.
Now, family and friends are working to complete Lt. Burks' wish list in a rapidly growing effort that includes businesses, churches and schools from North Texas and around the country.
"We feel like our charge now, in Pete's stead, is to continue to take care of his guys," said his father, Alan Burks. "We're going to start with that list and keep it going."
Relatives started circulating the wish list while Lt. Burks was still alive. But interest in the list has grown since his death, as donors seek to honor the fallen soldier's wish to supply his comrades with comforts from home.
Some well-wishers have sent care packages to the homes of Lt. Burks' father and stepmother in Celina and his mother in McKinney. Others have dropped off items at Bling, a clothing store in downtown McKinney.
Maylee Thomas, the store's co-owner, said people have stopped by to donate everything from Pop Tarts to Hot Fries to after-shave cream. Employees shipped 24 boxes to Iraq this week.
"We've had young children come in; we've had a couple of veterans who know what it's like to be over there," Ms. Thomas said. "What we really want this to do is show these guys they're not forgotten. This was a kid that was so wise beyond his years and had a love for his fellow soldiers."
Julie Geldert of Plano dropped off supplies, including microwave popcorn, Tootsie Pops and Oreos, last week at the Burkses' Celina home. Each item comes with an encouraging note – "We believe in you guys!" and "Come home soon" – from her daughter Natalie, 13, and son Nicholas, 11.
"That family is just one of many that is giving it all to support our country," Ms. Geldert said. "They've given the ultimate. I want my kids to see what others are having to sacrifice, to understand the reality of it all."
Nobody knows exactly how many supplies have been donated, because some people are sending items directly to Iraq that won't reach the troops for several weeks.
Lt. Burks grew up in Dallas and graduated from Trinity Christian Academy and then Texas A&M University. But care packages are flowing in from far beyond Texas.
Schools and veterans groups are sending supplies from the Boston area, where Ms. Haddad's family lives. Family friends and former colleagues from California to Georgia to New York also have pitched in.
"It's been amazing to see how this thing virally has gone out, the circle of people that have been touched and have reached back out to us," Mr. Burks said.
He said, "Regardless of people's political views or what have you, it's been encouraging and positive for people to realize there's something that they can do tangibly and make a soldier feel better, feel appreciated."
A PLATOON'S WISH LIST
Dallas Soldier Dies in Iraq
10:07 PM CST on Monday, November 19, 2007
DALLAS - A Dallas
soldier killed by a roadside bomb in Iraq is being remembered as a
dedicated team player who felt the call to serve.
Fallen Soldier’s Mom Remembers Her Son
BY STEFANIE WHITE, McKinney Courier-Gazette
(Created: Wednesday, November 21, 2007 1:03 AM CST)
Second Lt. Peter Haskell Burks had been many things in life: He was an athlete, exceptional student, son and a soldier in the Army. But his mother, Jackie Merck, of McKinney, said her son had many qualities that went beyond school and sports accomplishments. "I want people to see the heart of Pete," Merck said.
On Nov. 14, Merck said her life was turned upside down when she was
told Burks had been killed in Iraq. While commanding a unit just outside
the Green Zone in Baghdad, his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Burks,
26, received shrapnel wounds to his head and died at the scene. Merck said
it was her faith that has kept her strong through her son’s death, a faith
that Burks had shared as well. "The way I could hold on as a mother is
because I have that relationship with Jesus Christ," Merck said. "Peter
accepted Jesus Christ as his personal savior as a child."
Memorial contributions may be made to the Peter Burks Unsung Hero Fund at Texas Star Bank, P.O. Box 1600, Celina, Texas 75009.
Letters from soldier killed in Iraq reveal
his love, faith
Commitment to fiancée, faith and country
endures in e-mails he sent from Iraq,
My dear fellow Americans,
This July 4th, 2008 will be the FIRST TIME in my life that I have ever really thought about the TRUTH OF WHY WE CELEBRATE this day. July 4th is not just another holiday where we are off work, have friends over, have a swim party, or just shoot off fireworks.
Until my doorbell rang on November 14, 2007, announcing that my beloved, first-born son (pictured below with his fiancée, Missy) had "gone home" to be with the Lord while serving in Iraq, I was guilty of the type of "celebration" I described above. I never even gave one thought to my FELLOW AMERICANS and their FAMILIES who are sacrificing by serving their country in the Military.
When Pete joined the Military and was deployed, the war became VERY PERSONAL to me and our family.
Our family, without asking for our permission, gave the "ultimate" sacrifice for our country. My question to you, as my fellow American, is this, "what are you willing to sacrifice for your country and the men and women serving our great land of America?"
As you begin your July 4th celebration tomorrow, Lord willing, I challenge you to TAKE SOME TIME TO REFLECT on where we are as a nation. EDUCATE yourself on what is happening in our world. IMAGINE, if you will, what it must be like for our soldiers thousand and thousand of miles away from home and their loved ones. MAKE A CALL to a friend or family you know who has someone in the Military. See how they are doing and then THANK THEM for being the warrior on the "home front". REMEMBER TO PRAY for the safety, well being, strength, protection, courage, peace of our warriors in harms way.
I am speaking from my heart and in love. My dear friends, it is TIME FOR AMERICANS TO WAKE UP AND GET INVOLVED in SUPPORTING OUR TROOPS! May this July 4th be an awakening of what it really means to celebrate FREEDOM.
In closing, many people tell me that Peter died for Iraqi Freedom. Honestly, that thought makes me sick in my heart. No, my son did not die for IRAQI FREEDOM. He gave his life for AMERICA, the country he loved IN ORDER that our great land might once again STAND FOR A SYMBOL OF GOOD IN THE WORLD.
As men and women like Pete died for freedom, I challenge you and me to LIVE FOR FREEDOM RIGHT HERE AT HOME.
Stand up for what is right and true. Fight the good fight of FAITH. As in Joshua 1:6, 7,18 commands: "BE STRONG AND VERY COURAGEOUS!
May God stir your heart to action for Him and THROUGH HIM to make our world DIFFERENT!
It is adversity that gives you an opportunity to distinguish yourself as a warrior.
NOW, A Distinguished Warrior
He was 26 years old. He was a graduate of Trinity Christian Academy in Addison and a 2003 Graduate of Texas A&M University and a 12th Man on Saturday afternoon at Kyle Field in College Station.
He wore a green uniform and was an officer in the United States Army. He had a smile and looked similar to the clean-cut young man you will see this weekend at the mall, the movies or at the corner gas station. He believed in God and he was a Christian.
On a cold rainy day in November, his friends in solemn tribute went to a church in Frisco to pay tribute to who he was, they followed him up Preston Road to Celina, across FM 455 to Anna and down Highway 5 to Melissa Road. On Melissa Road, men who honored him, removed his flag draped casket from a hearse and placed it on a horse drawn carriage
His name was Peter Haskell Burks and on November 13th of 2007, in a far distant land so different from College Station, McKinney, Allen, Anna, Frisco and Melissa, a person who did not even know him, launched an armor-penetrating projectile that struck his vehicle just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad.
Peter Burks was struck by shrapnel in his head and within 15 minutes Lt. Burks, who commanded 17 men and a group of 4 vehicles, lost his dreams and his future, in a country called Iraq.
Memorial Day on Monday will be a day to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom, but for me it will also be about a "Day of Remembrance" for Lt. Peter Haskell Burks, a young man about the same age of my two sons, who became an American Hero on that November day far from home.
May God Bless America and Lt. Peter Burks.
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