Saturday they lost a husband, a son, and a brother... and that's what we know at first recognition. I'm sure though, that if you ask the Muhr family, there are numerous other "titles" they find themselves missing. The days ahead will offer proof to that. January 29th. That will be the day listed as U.S. Army Spec. Shawn Muhr's death. Muhr, 26, was killed in action by a roadside bomb while driving a truck for a military transportation unit. He is listed as a full-time soldier and not part of the recent Iowa National Guard force deployed to Afghanistan. Specialist Muhr died along with Spec. Joshua Campbell of Bennett, Colorado in the Afghan province of Helmand. Muhr is the 75th soldier to die with Iowa ties since March of 2003.
So who was Shawn Muhr? What made him the person we are coming to know more about? And how will we remember him? Take a look at his picture for a moment.
|U.S. Army Specialist Shawn Muhr|
Now, look again for a minute, if you would. What do you see? Can you catch a glimpse of your husband, your son, your brother, your friend......or maybe the boy down the street that you saw grow up and head off to war. Muhr's picture is a reflection of all of us in so many ways. He was common in his approach to life, yet driven with his love of the military. By all accounts, he had found his "niche" there. In earlier days, Muhr was a star athlete at Coon Rapids High School. He excelled at wrestling placing sixth at the 2003 Iowa State Wrestling Championships. Standing 6'2" and weighing over 200 pounds, Muhr offered a presence.
He was about as ornery, happy, joking and dry-humored as they ever get," said father David Muhr, who is an Army veteran of the Vietnam War and vice commander of American Legion Post 357 in Coon Rapids. In addition to those comments comes a deep appreciation in the Muhr family of the pride that goes with wearing the military uniform. In these days that we yearn for role models to follow, are these not two men that we could learn much from? In life and in death, I'm not sure whose loss is larger...but what is apparent, is that both men understand the words, commitment and sacrifice. MERCY.
Coon Rapids, a small community of 1,300 people, northwest of Des Moines will be experiencing some very moving moments in the coming days. Media will be converging on friends and family members to put a spin on Shawn's life and death. No doubt there will be others as well. This will be a time for community to heal and grow all at once. It will also be a time where Iowa and the World can see where our men and women of the military come from and what provides the foundation to their sacrifice. I do know that as a parent of a soldier, I pray that Shawn will be remembered. And I'm not just speaking of this week, or next month, but for ever more.
When I started this blog three months ago, I wrote about this day.....and what thoughts and feelings I might have in coming to grips with one of our Iowa soldiers being killed in action. The word that comes to me today is "opportunity". I will have an "opportunity" to travel to Coon Rapids to pay my respects to U.S. Army Specialist Shawn Muhr when funeral arrangements are made. I will also have the "opportunity" to see the community of Coon Rapids and the state of Iowa and it's leaders come to the support of a family that needs our love and hope for what lies ahead. And I also see this as an "opportunity" to share some words with you that put much into perspective.
"Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever. Amen".
Those words can provide solace. They are for all of us, regardless of our situation. Pray for the Muhr family, if you would. And if in your prayers, you see other seeds of "opportunity", share them with us all. God is calling......