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Monday, September 28, 2009

A dying Marine's final request... ignored by Congress?

Children are our way to conquer time. They are the Fountain of Youth – true immortality.

I think you’re most aware of that when you’re about to die. That moment which stretches on-and-on into the perfect blue light, is transcendent. You realize in just that brief flicker you have left, that all you have to mark your existence – to say to the Earth that you were here - are your children.

They are our monuments and our gifts to the future. They embody hope.

August 10, 2008 might have passed unnoticed for some, but for one woman, Hotaru Freschke, it was the end of a future with her husband, Michael. But January saw a new beginning, as their son was born. Little Mikey is now with his mother and grandmother, in Tennessee, where her husband had wanted his son to grow up. It was his dying wish after he was killed conducting house-to-house searches in Iraq. He was only 22 years old and he was a team-leader in the Okinawa-based 3rd Recon Battalion, 3rd Marine Division.

He fought and died for you and I and every other American, and his dying wish – something as simple as having his son grow up in his hometown - should be honored.

But without an act of Congress, it won’t be.

That’s because 57 years ago, some idiot wrote into the Immigration and Nationality Act that a marriage between a U.S. citizen and foreign national must be CONSUMMATED after the wedding in order to be considered valid.

Fifty-seven years. That’s 35 years before Michael Ferschke senior was even born. And 22 years after his birth, his young life is cut short, and he passed through that endless moment which waits for us all.

And all he asked is that at least his son be given the chance to grow up here – in the United States. Think about that for a moment, because in the entire Congress, only one guy, Tennessee Rep. John Duncan Jr. (R), is thinking about it at all. The rest of them – Democratic and Republican leaders on the “Immigration Subcommittee” alike - have “expressed support” for the measure Duncan has introduced, but no one has given any indication when a vote might come on the “private bill” to recognize the marriage.

How complicated is it?

Hotaru and Mikey should be able to live and grow old in the country that Sergeant Ferschke Jr., gave his life to protect. They should be able to visit his gravestone together. That child should at least be able to touch that stone and trace the engraved letters with his fingers and listen to his mother’s stories. There’s no questioning this. There’s no reason for waiting nearly a year to make this happen. If Congress is incapable of acting on a simple final request by one of our country’s bravest and best – then they should all resign now. Where are our heroes in Congress? Why aren't you all over this?

Mikey is 8-months-old. Perhaps it’s time for our leadership to get off their well-padded asses and do something right. If they don’t, mother and son will have to return to Japan and maybe, if finances allow, will be able to visit Tennessee twice a year. Mikey will have to grow up without the citizenship his father valued so much, he was willing to give his life in service.

The Marine motto is "Semper Fidelis" - "Always Faithful. Maybe a few people in Congress should think about showing a little of that faith in return.

So, if any of you decision-makers are reading this. Stop fooling around on this damn blog and make some phone calls.



For the full - real story on this, by a much better writer - see the Stars and Stripes article at:

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