How Do You Say Good-Bye?
How Do You Say Good-Bye?
Stephen A. Peterson
How do you say goodbye to your child?
Carl, the son of Dimitri and Sarah Dobinsky, was a joy to his parents, relatives and friends for nineteen years. He was said to be a happy, cheerful baby whose smile would light up the room. On his first day of kindergarten, Carl stood up for a boy he didn’t know who was being bullied. When asked by the Principal why he did it, Carl responded: “Because it was the right thing to do! Isn’t Josh a person too with rights? Just because he can’t talk like me or you, why should somebody pick on him like that?”
Eleven years later as a high school sophomore, Carl pulled a family of three out of an overturned car on a lonely Oklahoma rural highway. Then he applied first aid to the injured father. According to the physician who performed the operation: “If Carl didn’t take the action he did, the father would have died leaving a wife and a daughter to grieve their loss.” When the family came to thank Carl for his bravery, he responded: “Ain’t nothin’ It was the right thing to do.”
Finally, on May 8, 2001, with much anticipation for the future, Carl graduated from high school. Now it was on to college—to Oklahoma State University to study hard to someday become a pediatric dentist. Why? So he could watch the smiles of children when they came to his office needing dental care.
That all changed when on September 11, 2001, he watched from his dormitory television in horror the slamming of two planes into the Twin Towers in New York City. Following his classes, Carl went to his dormitory room to pray and think about the events of this day. Three days following the attacks on the Twin Towers, Carl decided to enter military service. On that weekend, he went home to discuss his decision with his parents.
“Why?” asked his mother with tears in her eyes.
“Mom, I’ve prayed about this. After I did, I’ve decided it’s the right thing to do. Everything’s gonna be okay, mom? You’ll see!”
At the end of the semester, Carl was off to Basic Training to become a Medical Assistant in the United States Army. During training, a fellow soldier broke her ankle while negotiating an obstacle. Carl without hesitation or a word quickly took charge, stopped the bleeding, calmed the soldier, and splint the broken bone saving the soldier’s foot and her military career. As he stood before the formation to receive recognition from the post commander, the General asked: “Private Dobinsky, what motivated you to help this soldier?”
“Sir, it was the right thing to do. I was there. I knew what to do so I did it,” responded Carl.
"Bless you, Private Dobinsky! You're an outstanding soldier and a credit to the United States Army," responded the General tearfully.
Basic Training came to an end quickly for Carl and his fellow soldiers. Upon their graduation, Carl was elected by his peers and drill sergeants as the soldier of the training cycle for his hard work, dedication and selfless service to his fellow soldiers and to the United States Army. Called out from the formation, Carl was ordered to stand with the General in the review stand as the cheering Brigade passed in review.
One month after graduation, Carl and his unit found themselves in Iraq serving fellow service personnel and Iraqi citizens. While in Iraq, Iraqi men, women and children declared to the American command that Carl was a kind and gentle person who had their best interest at heart and that when they came for medical service or assistance, Carl was who they wanted to serve them. For to the Iraqis Carl became synonymous with the generosity of the American military personnel. Carl’s name quickly spread far and wide in this ancient land resulting in families traveling for miles to receive service at the American medical aid station.
Then it happened. While on a mission to transport a pregnant woman and her husband to an Army medical aid station, a roadside bomb exploded disabling the transport vehicle setting it on fire. At that instance, Carl pulled the Iraqi woman, her husband and the doctor from the vehicle saving their lives though injured himself. He took up a defensive position to protect everyone from enemy fire knowing full well that he could be killed. When help did arrive, a shot ripped through the heat of the Iraqi summer striking Carl in the head instantly ending his life. Immediately dropping his weapon, a young 16 year old terrorist from Syria surrendered and was taken into custody by the rescue team of Americans.
When Americans and Iraqis learned of Carl’s death, the outpouring of grief and loss quickly spread throughout the compound and surrounding area. As the sun rose on the following day, thousands of grieving Iraqis swelled outside the compound with wails and cries of death, the beating of breasts and the firing of guns into the air. At that moment, the cry of a little voice could be heard from the nearby hospital tent. It was a boy! To honor Specialist Dobinsky, the Iraqi couple named their newborn son “Carl”.
Back in the United States, Carl was brought home. At his funeral, Carl’s Commanding Officer was requested by the family to offer the eulogy. “How do you say goodbye to such a son and soldier? You don’t. You weep and you let God share your tears. And you thank Him for the love, peace and joy that came into your life through him. For you know now that that part of your son, your friend will be with you forever! Whenever Carl did anything, he would always be heard to say ‘it was the right thing to do’. To make the ultimate sacrifice as Carl did is the hardest thing he or anyone could do. To die for your friends and country as he did. May he rest in peace and love with his Lord, Our Lord!” as the officer tearfully took his seat with the rest of the mourners that day.
And may you be blessed as well. For in the eyes of God, it was the right thing to do. As the Father did many years ago that salvation, peace and unconditional love may be known in and by the world.
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Thank you for sharing that article. It makes me think about the sacrifices of so many and ultimately the sacrifice that The Father made in sending Jesus to die for us, but the joy in knowing that Jesus rose from the dead and as the songwriter discovered "Because He lives I can face tomorrow." Life has pain indeed, but there is no pain on earth that God cannot heal.
Such a short but such an amazing life. That's what being a Christian is all about.
Stephen, This was such a pleasure to read. This world could use a lot more young men like the Carl you wrote about. I will always feel indebted to Carl and all the American Soldiers, who so bravely serve and protect this country and others. Thank you for sharing this. Bessie
I was captivated by the integrity of Carl at the beginning, and moved to know we have youth like that serving our country. Thank you for sharing this.
Wow... beautifully written and how marvelous... NO, we don't say good bye--we weep and let the Father weep with us. Bless you for sharing. Donna Kauffman www.treasuresbooks.bravehost.com