By SAM HATCHER One week ago today I received a call from a friend with whom I had not spoken for probably a couple of years. He’s someone who grew up with me, lived in the same neighborhood over near the Cumberland University campus, and played touch football with me and a-half-dozen other kids on the weekends and in the afternoons after school. After a brief exchange of typical telephone greetings, he cleared his voice and said most directly, “I have a favor to ask to of you.” “Our son was killed last night in Iraq and we’d appreciate it if you’d put this on the front page of your newspaper.”
Of course by now you know the rest of the story. The caller was my friend Bill Emmert.
He and his wife Brenda lost their son Eric, a member of the 269th Military Police Company, a Murfreesboro-based Army National Guard unit, when he was killed by enemy fire while on duty in the city of Mosul last Tuesday.
First Lt. William Eric Emmert, 36, was by all accounts an outstanding young man. A 1991 graduate of Lebanon High School, Eric had earned a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice from Middle Tennessee State University and was doing in life exactly what he wanted to do. Outside what would normally be weekend duties with the National Guard, he was a Special Agent for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation. His career experience also included some five years in the Army and a period with the Tennessee Highway Patrol before joining the TBI. At the time of his death he was living in Fayetteville, Tenn.
We truthfully do not know how to express how deeply sorrowful we are for the loss of this young man’s life.
We know he was a very special person in so many ways and our hearts are so heavy today as we remember him and his service to our country.
There certainly are no words that in any way can lessen the loss that the Emmerts must endure for the passing of their son.
However, we as Americans should and must be thankful for those such as young Eric Emmert who paid the ultimate sacrifice in the service of his country.
We should always remember that this soldier, who put duty and love of country first, and so many others like him are today’s true heroes.