Today marks the sixth anniversary of the death of Lance Cpl. Daniel M. McVicker.
The 2003 West Branch graduate was but 20 years old when he was killed by an improvised explosive device while conducting combat operations against enemy forces near Al Qaim, Iraq.
Prompted by patriotism inspired by the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Danny McVicker wanted to be a Marine. By all accounts he was a great one. Which isn't surprising because by all accounts he was a great person - son, sibling, classmate and friend. He is remembered in different ways, especially today. A portion of route 62 west bear his name. A scholarship is awarded yearly in honor of his name. He rests at Highland Memorial with other fallen soldiers, forever standing tall for dying for his country.
His family continues to carry memories of the good times with Danny. His family continues to carry the pain from his death. On this anniversary day, as we have done the previous five years, we extend our heartfelt thoughts to his family: mom and step-dad Carrie and Bill Meissner; dad and step-mom Mark and Irma McVicker; and kid sister Mollie. And also to all of his friends who were touched by him during his much too short life.
The war in Iraq began on March 19, 2003. There were nearly 4,500 American military casualties, some 3,500 of those dying in combat. Danny McVicker was the only service person from our area to perish in Iraq. Following his Oct. 6, 2005 death he was accorded a full military funeral. Today he should be accorded full respect and a moment of pause - and thanks - from each and everyone of us. That is the very least we can do. You might not have known him, but you should fully know what he served and died for. And dying is something that will never happen to his memory.