Soon, I stand beside you at trial. After an abysmal year and a half, it is hard to believe this day has finally come.
I am nervous. I am defiant. I am angry. I am resolved. But mostly, I am proud.
I am proud to call you my brother. To know you, to have lived by your side, to have learned from your wisdom, to have the power of your example guide me.
I know you never wanted the world to know your name, or your story – especially in these circumstances. But it was my honor to tell it for you. Truly, I hope I did it justice.
I tried, as you would have wanted, not to embellish or aggrandize your service. But even spoken plainly, the world now knows who fights our wars. They should know what it takes to face our enemies. They should know who volunteers to leave their families, the comforts of home, to fight evil and to protect us from its reach. It is you.
And the world now knows that men like you do not fight alone. This is why it was a singular honor to stand with your amazing wife Andrea. I have basked in her light and marveled in her dedication and passion. I have never had a fiercer nor a more skilled teammate. When you married her, you bettered us all.
With Andrea, Kristin, mom, dad and many others we have faced, head on, the forces of darkness that attacked you.
Because when they attacked you — they attacked me, they attacked all of us.
If people could see, as only we know, how isolated we were when this began. But together, through sheer will, and love, we forged ahead. We defied the odds. We never gave up.
We never gave up because, simply put, you are worth it. You fought for us. You always fought for us.
I do not know what the outcome will be. This path has shown us a darker side of life. That truth doesn’t always prevail, and that our systems can fail the best among us.
There are so many unknowns. There is so much uncertainty.
But there are things I know. I know you are innocent. I know you are good. I know you deserve to be free.
I know that because of you, I am a better father. Because of you, I am a better son. Because of you I have seen firsthand what dedication is. I have learned from you the true meaning of words like honor, sacrifice, courage, and perseverance.
When I reflect on our phone calls during the darkest days when you were in the brig, ripped from your family and the world, I honestly don’t know how you pulled through. I don’t.
When we hung up, I would pour a hefty glass and frightfully work on whatever I could do to make inroads. I would spend the next days, the next weeks, the next months and year trying to move the needle. To fight, to cajole, to plead, to persuade, to force those in power to listen, to understand, to see the truth.
Little by little, inch by inch, progress was made. I hope it was enough. I really do. If I am honest, a looming fear is I didn’t do enough. I fear I didn’t do enough to live up to your example, to do justice to you, to our family, to this cause.
God only knows what it must feel like to face a lifetime away from your kids, from your wife. I have tried to fight as if I faced the same consequence.
If we prevail, you owe me nothing except what you would have already given. To tell my sons the truth about your service, about your life. Tell them why you answered the call to protect, about why you repeatedly went back, and about what it takes to keep us free.
Tell my boys about our family, and your brothers in arms. Tell them of the men who have gone before us, and what they gave. Inspire them as dad did for you, and his father did for him. Be the hero uncle they need, that we all need.
Dear brother, when the judge gavels the court in on Monday, I will be by your side. I will rise with you in defense of truth, in defense of justice, in defense of you.
Your Little Brother,