Sunday, March 27, 2011
Craig A. Birkholz - Army Sgt., Police Officer, Husband, Hero
Craig A. Birkholz He survived two tours in the big sand box just to be lost trying to save a fellow officer in Fond du Lac? Really? It is a tragic story. It is a tale of two soldiers and their stories after returning home. I have been writing this post in my head for days. Trying to figure out what to say, what to focus on, how to handle it. It has been on my mind - constantly. I listened to the feed as it all went down - I was just captured by the surrealism of the whole situation. My heart broke when the news mentioned his wife. I am a teacher in Kenosha and the parish that was taking care of the funeral mass is attached to our lower campus. LITERALLY the signs of this tragic loss were everywhere! There are pink signs reminding us that there is a police funeral surrounding the entire school and church. Throughout Kenosha there are signs - at union halls and scrolling at banks. Kenosha is feeling the loss of one of their own.
My boys have taken it so much to heart that they wanted to attend. I thought about trying to make it happen. But we had a family college graduation and I wanted to be sure there was enough space for those who were closest to him to mourn the loss of a hero. And...I was not sure if I could handle it, personally. There are no words, none. As wives to servicemen, police officers and firefighters - we all know this is a reality of our world. My husband is at work as we speak and I could be the one getting that call. But we always put it to the side. This loss, I have not been able to do that with - I was not even part of his world. But I feel for his wife - they have only been married since 2009. They had so many plans, the future was waiting for them. Now, I am certain, her future is moment by moment as she tries to grasp the reality of the whole situation. At the graduation yesterday, there was an MPD officer behind us, his badge was a reminder of the loss. Craig Birkholz was a hero - at home and in the bigger world. The world is a better place because of him. There are no words. Nothing I can write or say can bring him back. Nothing I can write or say can take the pain away. THERE ARE NO WORDS.
Photos by Brian Passino
War: Through Their Eyes is a multi media project completed by UW-Oshkosh - including a photo exhibit, a series of podcasts and a book, about the experiences of the soldiers, UWO students and alum, in the modern war campaigns. Sgt. Birkholz story is among those stories preserved in this piece. Please take a moment to take a look at the site.
Please say a prayer for the wife, family, friends and Fond du Lac PD that are all feeling this loss. May God grant them peace, acceptance and healing through this most difficult and tragic part of their lives. Please say a prayer for your firefighters as they leave for work, to keep them say. Most of all I will be saying a prayer of thanks that we have these most brave and honorable men and women, willing to make the ultimate sacrifice to keep us safe - at home, in the community and throughout the world.
Sgt. Craig A. Birkholz - we thank you. May you rest in peace.