31 July 2010
Fading Echoes by Mike Sielski
I just finished Mike Sielski's excellent book Fading Echoes: A True Story of Rivalry and Brotherhood From the Football Field to the Fields of Honor.
When I picked it up I wasn't sure if it was a football book or a military book. Turns out it is a little bit of both.
Mike tells the stories of two boys who grow up on the football fields of suburban Pennsylvania, with all its tradition, rivalry, and community. He tells about Colby and Bryan, two boys are a passingly familiar with each other, who play for rival high schools, and play football at a high level. We meet their families, their friends, teachers, and coaches. We ride the ups and downs of their senior seasons and beyond.
Both boys have drive, determination, and leadership abilities that set them apart. We follow them as they grow into young men, struggling to find their paths in life and in football. They play football in college with varying degrees of success until they find the curtain closing on their football lives. Bryan and Colby must find their way as men in their post football careers.
For both Bryan and Colby, the path led to service in the post-9/11 military. Brian became an Lt in the Marine Corps. Colby became an Army officer and an Airborne Ranger.
As family and friends adjust to the mixture of pride and fear having a loved one in uniform brings, fate drops both men in the sands of Iraq.
Bryan Buckley made it back to Doylestown, PA.
1Lt Colby Umbrell did not.
As a community comes together to mourn and remember Colby in the fields, bars, and classrooms that helped build both young men, we are reminded that each man and woman in the service is more than their uniform.
Everyone has a story and the uniform is only a part.
1Lt Colby Umbrell has a story and the stone in Arlington National Cemetery is only one part of it.
Mike Sielski helps tell us the rest.
In a way, this idea is why I blog. Bestie, Bestie in Law, and I all have stories as well. Someone has to tell them. Someone has to tell the stories. Good on Mike Sielski for telling this one.