"I regret to inform you..." the homecoming of SGT Elijah Rao - at DVinfo.net

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Old December 13th, 2009, 10:54 PM   #1
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Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Vancouver, WA USA
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"I regret to inform you..." the homecoming of SGT Elijah Rao -

I'm a new member here. I've been a professional (still) photographer for many years and recently discovered the wonder of making movies. I bought a 5DII a few weeks ago to pursue this interest.

But the reason for my post is to share with the community, our loss of US Army SGT Elijah Rao, my wife's son, my step-son, brother to a sister and brother, friend to many, hero to our nation.


Elijah was killed just over a week ago by an IED while investigating a roadside explosion in Nuristan, Afghanistan. His body was returned from Dover AFB to us yesterday. I picked up my Canon G9 simply to be able to document his return home for his 18 month old daughter's future viewing. I'm no movie maker. But I cobbled this together today from footage my G9 captured yesterday.

I'm presenting it here to help remind people of the immense personal sacrifices our military personnel make to try to keep the rest of us safe, secure, and free at home to live our lives, pursue our dreams and interests, and be with our families. Elijah paid the ultimate price for the freedom all of us enjoy.

We, his family, want to spread the word about our hero, Elijah.

Don Hauerken is offline   Reply With Quote
Old December 13th, 2009, 11:17 PM   #2
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Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 2,032
Hi Don,

Good on you for doing this!!!!!

In years to come it will be absolute gold to his daughter. Even the little things such as the additional onlookers at the airfield (as well as the effort that the police went to for the road journey) will have special meaning for her.

Can't compliment you highly enough for what you had the foresight to do. You're a good man.

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Old December 14th, 2009, 12:47 AM   #3
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Location: Savannah, GA
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My condolences on your terrible loss, Don. May his untimely passing remind us all of the important work left for us over there, and for all of humankind.
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Old December 17th, 2009, 02:37 PM   #4
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: San Angelo Texas
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This brought real tears to my eyes.

I retired from active duty in Nov 1978. I was one of the lucky ones who got to come home from VietNam. We were told not to wear our uniforms while travelling because of strong anti-war sentiment in the US.

I wore mine anyway and hardly a soul would speak to me.

Never again must our country do this to her warriors.

I still feel a strong bond of kinship with those who wear the uniform to defend our country, it's freedoms, ideals, and interests. So while watching your video I feel the loss of one who even though I never knew him, was like one of my family.

Our military folks are all volunteers, who believe in what they do and want to see the job done properly so our country and people remain safe.

Please accept my sincere condolences for the loss of your stepson and express the same to the rest of the family.

Bruce Foreman
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Old December 17th, 2009, 06:20 PM   #5
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Location: Elk Grove CA
Posts: 6,838

My son-in-law just came back from Afghanistan where he was an air evac medic. He was part of our local guard. He joined the unit because he knew they were going.....We breathed a sigh of relief upon his return after a year in country. We never knew how close he was. We attended a ceremony where he was medaled for his actions under fire... I also saw gun camera footage of him going down to pull another soldier out. These men are brave beyond anything I could ever have conceived.

Our family sends its condolences for your loss. God bless your family.
Chris J. Barcellos
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Old December 17th, 2009, 06:25 PM   #6
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Location: Vancouver, WA USA
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Thank you for your comments.

I know now that the next time I see a member of our forces in uniform I will go out of my way to thank that person and let them know how very much I appreciate their service. I know that our loss of Elijah will manifest itself in more positive results than we can even imagine. So many people have been touched by this.
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