A letter from killed Marine continues to inspire others
The polls suggest a majority of Americans no longer think the war in Afghanistan is worth the fighting and dying.
Maybe that is what makes the letter that Marine Sgt. William Stacey sent to his parents so remarkable. Even if he died in Afghanistan, Stacey wrote, "it was all worth it."
Days later, the 23-year-old from Seattle was killed in Now Zad, the onetime Taliban stronghold that the Marines are determined to reclaim for Afghan families.
"It was his honor to die for his country," Sgt. Dane Bell said at an April 12 memorial service at Camp Pendleton for Stacey and four other Marines from the 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment.
Stacey's letter is replete with his determination to complete his mission and his belief in the value of what the Marines are attempting to achieve.
Times staff writer Richard Winton tells the story of Stacey, his letter, and the inspiration it continues to provide.
--Tony Perry in San Diego
Photo: Sgt. John Kladitis kneels at the memorial display for Sgt. William Stacey after a ceremony in April at Camp Pendleton honoring five Marines killed during deployment to Afghanistan. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times