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2nd Lieutenant PETER H. BURKS
US Army

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
Go to Missy's 'Tribute to Pete' website

 

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 making.
"Peter and I had had conversations for years going back to his adolescent and young teen years that he an interest and calling to serve his country," said his father, Alan Burks.
While commanding a unit just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad on Wednesday, his vehicle was hit by a roadside bomb. Peter, 26, received shrapnel wounds to his head and died at the scene. Five of his men were also injured.
While worried about the dangers of Peter serving, Burks said he was happy for his son for pursuing his dreams.
"I was anxious but excited for him at the same time because he was doing what he wanted to do," Burks said. "He had found his calling and followed it."
Burks said Peter wasn’t afraid of what was ahead of him, and was prepared for any sacrifices he had to make.
"Because he had a very strong faith in God, he felt like he was protected," Burks said. "Should the worst come and death come his way, he was prepared for that."
Peter was born in Atlanta, Ga., and moved to Dallas in 1987. He graduated in 1999 from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, where he played football and baseball and was a member of the National Honor Society.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 2003. He spent time in France working as a tour guide, and had a community relations internship with the Dallas Cowboys. Before joining the Army, he worked in marketing for the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas, the Frisco-based soccer team.
Andy Harvey, a family friend, said he remembers Peter’s maturity, even when he was a young boy.
"When Peter was growing up, he was like a little adult," Harvey said. "He was very grounded, very serious."
Harvey said Peter was the type of person who wanted to do good things for others.
"Peter was always looking for a way to make a difference in the world, very sincerely was always looking for that," Harvey said.
Peter is survived by his father; mother Jackie Merck of McKinney; three sisters, Alison Burks of Celina, Sarah Burks of Dallas and Georgia Burks of Celina; brother Zac Burks of Celina; grandmother Irene Merck of Fayetteville, Ga.; grandfather Haskell Burks of Fayetteville, Ga., and fianc/e Melissa Haddad of McKinney.
Visitation will be at 6 p.m. Friday at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison. Memorial services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco.
Burks and Harvey said Peter will be missed my many people.
"Peter’s death — he’s going to leave a big empty space, a big hole in the world," Harvey said.
Burks said his son was a good brother, son and friend to many.
"He was the complete package and there was nothing artificial about him," he said. "He was the real deal."
Contact staff writer Stefanie White at
swhite@acnpapers.com. To post comments online, access this story at www.scntx.com.

when i told pete that it makes me mad that many americans don't recognize the sacrifices soldiers make:
"...there is a phrase that has come out of this war that is very true:  "the united states military is at war.  america is at the mall."  baby, the truth of this statement is undeniable, and extremely hurtful at the same time.  even in vietnam when the war was so incredibly unpopular, at least most people shared in the burden that the military faced daily.  today, i feel like there is a GIANT disconnect between those that serve and those that don't even bother to think about it.  it hurts me to know that you, our families, our friends/loved ones (some of them at least), and myself share in the communal suffering that comes from war and a deployment to a combat zone, while so many other people go out and live their daily lives without even the thought about what's going on over here.  the fact that SO many people care so little (i know there's a ton that care alot too) really makes me a bit resentful.  i guess the worst part about it is that i feel like everybody that is so oblivious to what's going on get away scott free while those that serve along with their loved ones are the only ones who are making the sacrifices necessary to do the bidding of the country.  i really feel that our country is in a VERY pivotal time right now, especially with the rise of china and the resurgence of russia, and the fact that so few people are REALLY plugged in to what's going on the world and in our country scares the crap out of me.  EVERYBODY knows that paris hilton went to jail, but i guarantee you that the fact that russia has started resuming long range bomber flights and is threatening to pull out of a decades old missile treaty is something that most people do not pay attention to.  the reason i say all these things, my girl, is that i really do care deeply about my country.  am i embarrassed by our commander-in-chief and his cronies?  yes.  am i sickened by the disgusting amount of greed and focus on money in our country?  yes.  am i angry about how we have lost our place in the world as a symbol of good?  very much so.  but do i still believe in america and what we are founded on and meant to stand for?  absolutely.  i just want our country to be the best it can be, and our people to be the best we can be.  right now, i we are not meeting that standard, and i believe that we have let our selves slip, just like the romans did before their empire crumbled.  bottom line, i love my country, i'm proud of where i'm from, but i hate where we are as a nation at the moment.  i don't know how, but i want to help forment change.

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

By JAKE BATSELL / The Dallas Morning News
jbatsell@dallasnews.com

Three days before he was killed in Iraq, 2nd Lt. Peter Burks sent home a wish list for his fellow soldiers.

JIM MAHONEY/DMN
JIM MAHONEY/DMN

Laura Forman Burks, stepmother of 2nd Lt. Peter Burks, broke down Wednesday before opening a box of donated items sent from California. Lt. Burks, who sent home a wish list of items requested by those in his unit, was killed in Iraq; donations have since come in from across the nation.

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
2nd Lt. Peter Burks, who was killed in Iraq earlier this month, left behind this wish list for his fellow soldiers:
•Double Stuf Oreo cookies
•Chocolate-chip cookies
•Snack packs
•Blue Gatorade powder
•Microwave popcorn
•Pretzels
•Beef jerky
•Lollipops
•Pop Tarts with frosting
•Honey buns
•Hot Cheetos
•Hot Fries
•Fudge cookies
•Xbox 360 controllers
•Shaving cream and after-shave cream
•Toothbrushes
•Pens
•Baby wipes
•Playing cards/Uno cards
•Magazines (Sports Illustrated, ESPN, National Geographic)
•Cotton swabs
•Deodorant

Shipping items
Items can be sent directly to this address (a customs form, available at any post office, is required):
CH (CPT) Bryan Smith
4/2 SCR Camp Prosperity
APO – AE 09348
Dropping off items

Items can be dropped off during business hours at Bling, a clothing store at 110 E. Louisiana St. in downtown McKinney; at Haggar Clothing Co.'s corporate offices at 11511 Luna Road in Dallas; or at Haggar retail stores in Dallas and Allen.
Cash donations

Peter Burks Unsung Hero Fund
Texas Star Bank
P.O. Box 1600
Celina, Texas 75009

 

Dallas Soldier Dies in Iraq
10:07 PM CST on Monday, November 19, 2007

Associated Press

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.
Army 2nd Lt. Peter H. Burks, 26, died Wednesday when his vehicle was hit just outside the Green Zone in Baghdad. The Department of Defense released Burks' name Monday. He was assigned to the 4th Squadron, 2nd Stryker Cavalry Regiment, Vilseck, Germany.
Alan Burks of Celina said he wasn't surprised that his son's last actions involved checking on the five men with him.
"He told me, over and over and over again, he said: 'Dad, my job is to get my 17 guys home safe. ... Then after that I'll get myself home safe,' " Burks said.
Peter Burks moved with his family to Dallas in 1987 and graduated from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison and Texas A&M University. He worked in marketing for the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas.
"He's as good as they come," his father said.
Alan Burks said his son had long talked about military service.
"He felt the call to serve. He'd tried corporate life and he just said, 'I have to go do this Dad. This is what I've got to do.'"
He joined the Army in 2006 and went to officer candidate school. He was deployed to Iraq about three months ago.
Besides his father, he is survived by his mother, Jackie Merck, of McKinney; his fiance; three sisters; a brother; a grandmother and a grandfather.

 

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."

While Merck said her son wasn’t a religious man, he valued his strong relationship with Jesus Christ. Burks often carried around a small Bible with him. "If he were going for an overnight somewhere, he always brought his Bible," Merck said. "Everything that Peter did played out with his passion and relationship with Jesus."

Merck said her son did have some of the same traits as that of Jesus, such as honor and personal integrity. "He [Burks] thought of others first," Merck said. "God put others first."

Burks was born in Atlanta, Ga., and moved to Dallas in 1987. He graduated in 1999 from Trinity Christian Academy in Addison, where he played football and baseball and was a member of the National Honor Society.
He received a bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University in 2003. He spent time in France working as a tour guide, and had a community relations internship with the Dallas Cowboys. Before joining the Army, he worked in marketing for the Dallas Desperados and FC Dallas, the Frisco-based soccer team.

Merck said her son also had a very human side. In excerpts from e-mails Burks sent to his fiancé, Melissa Haddad, he voiced his frustration about what he saw as a giant disconnect between servicemen and women and regular citizens. "I really feel that our country is in a very pivotal time right now," Burks wrote in an e-mail. "The fact that so few people are really plugged in to what’s going on in the world and in our country really scares the crap out of me."

Burks had also said he was upset about how America had lost its place in the world as a symbol of good but said he still believed in his country. "Do I still believe in America and what we are founded on and meant to stand for? Absolutely," Burks wrote. "I just want our country to be the best it can be and our people to be the best we can be."

Burks is survived by his fiancé, Melissa Haddad; mother, Jackie Merck; father, Alan, and stepmom Laura Burks; sisters, Ali, Sarah and Georgia Burks; brother, Zac Burks; grandmother, Irene Merck; grandfather, Haskell Burks; nephew, Oliver Denson; aunt, Brenda Brooks, and her husband Jim; uncle, Carlton Hays, and his wife, Bonnie; uncle, Tim Merck; aunt, Laurie Killen, and her husband Ivan; uncle, Mike Burks, and his wife Susan; various cousins and many friends.

A visitation is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, 2007, at Trinity Christian Academy in Addison. A funeral service is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, 2007, at Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco.

Like her son, Merck said she wants to make it her mission to make a difference in the world and show her love for her country. "I want his death to count for something, spiritually as well as mentally," Merck said. "I want my fellow Americans to fall in love with America again."

To read more about Burks, visit
www.lovelife-foundation.com.

Contact staff writer Stefanie White at
swhite@acnpapers.com. To post comments online, access this story at www.scntx.com.

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,
Web site she created
09:22 PM CST on Sunday, February 3, 2008
by MICHAEL E. YOUNG / The Dallas Morning News
myoung@dallasnews.com

Every morning, first thing, Melissa Haddad checked her e-mail for something from Pete. And every night, before turning in, she'd look one last time for one final note. Half a world away, at his base in the Green Zone in Baghdad, 2nd Lt. Peter Burks did the same, across all those miles and all the time zones between them, sharing his thoughts with Missy, the woman he'd dreamed about for most of his life. They wrote about the kids they hoped to have someday. They shared their fears and uncertainties during their long separation.
 And they talked about their Christian faith and how it sustained them. Today, those e-mails are all Missy has left of the man she loves, the man who was killed by a roadside bomb in November in the service of his country. And as part of her healing process, Missy sifted through their e-mails, and photos of their time together, and created a Web site to tell their story. 

"We had exchanged e-mails at least twice a day, and Pete had a way of writing, a most eloquent style," said Missy, 23, of McKinney. "After he was killed, I knew that our families needed something. So I posted the things that I thought would help them get through that period. "But then I heard from other people, asking what we thought of the war and other things. So I opened it up for everyone around the start of this year. It was like Pete was leaving a trail for us."

Missy remembers her time with Pete as "perfect, like a fairy tale." But it took them a while to get to that point. "It's funny, looking back, because Pete and I always had some kind of connection," she said. "We just didn't figure it out right away." 

They met briefly in the summer of 2004 and again late that year when both worked as drivers for the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. "When you're a driver, you spend a lot of time with the other drivers," Missy said. "But we still didn't start dating right away."

It was only after Pete left Celina for basic training with the Army that they began exchanging letters. "When he finished, he asked me to be his date for his OCS [Officer Candidate School] graduation in October '06," she said. After that, they were inseparable.
Pete, 26, asked Missy to marry him on an outing at the Dallas Arboretum in April 2007, three months before he shipped out for Germany, then Kuwait and finally Iraq. "That was the last time I saw him," Missy said. From that point, their computers became their lifelines, their link to each other. It allowed them to talk about their feelings for each other, about day-to-day things, and inevitably, about how each worried about the other.

On her Web site, Missy has posted some of the e-mails she received, and what led to Pete's answers:

When I told Pete I was worried about him: "Baby, i know that regardless of the circumstances, God is putting me exactly where he wants me for the time being. i know that that is hard to swallow, but it is the truth...." [Oct. 14, 2007]

When I told Pete I was scared of him being lonely: "... as far as loneliness goes, my dear, misery loves company here. all of us miss our family and our wives/fiances, but we are soldiers and we make the most of it because that's what we do...." [Nov. 8, 2007]

When I asked Pete about what he felt about his reassignment: "... just so you know, i'll be in the same areas I've been going to thus far, so not to worry too much about anything crazy happening. our area is quiet, and i intend to keep it that way for my platoon, myself, and the people in those neighborhoods." [Oct. 27, 2007]

When I told Pete about some of my friends doing a community project: "...Jesus tells us to go forward and make disciples and preach the Gospel. I can't think of a better way to preach the gospel/minister to people than to be actively trying to help people out. ... let's promise ourselves that no matter what, we will find a way to make a difference and help out our fellow man in this world. ...we could even come up with an event for us to do as a family that we can build on with our little rugrats." [Oct. 26, 2007]

Since Pete's death on Nov. 14, Missy wrestles with conflicting feelings every day. "I'm very thankful and not so thankful in the same way about the way he died," she said. "He didn't feel any pain. But there are still so many what-ifs in my mind – if they had delayed leaving the base by one minute, or if the bomb had gone off 30 seconds later, he'd still be alive. "And now I'm struggling with the thought that all of this isn't real. I was used to not speaking with him every day. We knew we weren't going to be together for at least a year. "Now it's like he's on a mission and that's why I don't hear from him."

But his e-mails help keep her grounded, and lift her in the most difficult times. "We never fought, never once, and the only tears we had was when we had to leave one another," Missy said. "He told me once he had prayed since he was little for a soul mate who would understand him. "He kept a journal beginning in 2001 for the woman he was going to marry, and the last five entries are written to me. There are no other names mentioned in it."

Pete's mom, Jackie Merck, said her son became a fervent Christian while in elementary school and studied the Bible voraciously. "When my son began writing the journal he delivered to Missy, it was based on Peter's personal experience with Jesus," she said. "Through that, he had the desire to search for a wife who was like the woman described in Proverbs 31, because those qualities were so important to him."

Before Pete shipped out, he and Missy sat down together and each wrote out a "List of Love." 

"I think I made that up in 14 seconds, everything from 'What do you want me to think about if I'm having a bad day?' to 'What do you want to inspire me?' We both filled it out and read it together, and I absolutely cherish that thing," Missy said.

Those words sustain her, along with her faith, which Pete helped to nurture. "Pete walked the walk and talked the talk when it came to faith," Missy said. "I thank God that he is absolutely in charge and that Pete was his best ambassador down here. This has taught me I can't be angry with God. I'm hurting and he's hurting for me. "That's how I'm able to get up every morning. It's that faith. But it's hard for a lot of people to accept that."

In the very darkest days after Pete's death, his personal effects arrived home from Iraq. And inside, Missy found a letter, written late on Nov. 13, shortly after he returned from leading his first patrol and just eight hours before he set out on his last. He wrote words of love and comfort to her, and took pride in serving his country. Missy treasures it.  

"Do you know how much I love you, little precious? You are so amazing, sweet girl, and I miss your sweet self so much! Well, I just finished leading my first patrol by myself, and it went well ... it really makes me proud to be an American soldier. I know the Army can be stupid and hard on our relationship, but it's these proud moments that make what I'm doing worth it."

E-MAILS FROM PETE TO MISSY

OCT. 2, 2007: "... as hard as things can be here with all the craziness that goes on inside and outside the gates, baby, I've never felt as at peace about things in my life. ... i know that no matter what, i have THE ULTIMATE GIRL to call my own ... we have not only placed our ultimate faith in the hands of the Lord Jesus, but let us not forget that our love has had to overcome the obstacles of separation and war. i don't think too many other couples can say that about themselves. indeed, baby, i love you infinitely more each day."

OCT. 22, 2007

"... i really do care deeply about my country. am i embarrassed by our commander-in-chief and his cronies? yes. ... am i angry about how we have lost our place in the world as a symbol of good? very much so. but do I still believe in america and what we are founded on and meant to stand for? absolutely. i just want our country to be the best it can be .... right now, we are not meeting that standard, and i believe that we have let our selves slip, just like the romans did before their empire crumbled."

OCT. 22, 2007: "I LOVE BEING YOUR SUPERMAN. if there is one thing that i always wanted from my wife, it is that she would see me as her hero, her knight in shining armor. baby, no lie, those are goals that i set out for myself in 2004. i wanted to be your hero (though i didn't know it at the time), and it makes me feel incredibly good that you think so. baby girl, I CANNOT WAIT TO COME HOME AND RESCUE YOU AS YOUR HERO!!!!!!!!!!"

LT. BURKS STILL HELPING HIS TROOPS:

The Peter Burks Country Store at Forward Operating Base Prosperity in Baghdad serves a special clientele – 2nd Lt. Burks' fellow soldiers. The program, started by Lt. Burks' family and friends, accepts items ranging from toothbrushes to pretzels.

Items can be sent directly to this address (a customs form, available at any post office, is required):
CH (CPT) Bryan Smith
4/2 SCR Camp Prosperity
APO-AE 09348

Items can be dropped off during business hours at Bling, a clothing store at 110 E. Louisiana St. in downtown McKinney; at Haggar Clothing Co.'s corporate offices at 11511 Luna Road in Dallas; or at Haggar retail stores in Dallas and Allen.

Send cash donations to:
Peter Burks Unsung Hero Fund
Texas Star Bank P.O. Box 1600
Celina, Texas 75009
Go to Missy's 'Tribute to Pete' website


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.
"Miss Jackie"
Pete's Momma
NOW, A Distinguished Warrior

 

Day Of Rembrance

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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