Monday, May 28, 2007

Take the Time to Remember

On this Memorial Day, let's all take the time to personally connect and put a face to someone who has sacrificed his/her life to keep the world free. My connection is to Katie....

Before Katie Soenksen joined the Army, she told a teacher that she was meant to enlist.

Then she instructed Sue Day:

“Don’t you dare be scared for me. Pray for me. Be happy for me. But don’t be scared for me.”

Day learned during an intercom announcement at Davenport North High School earlier this morning that her former student, the one she nicknamed “Stinky,” died in Iraq, killed by a roadside bomb that destroyed her Humvee in West Baghdad.

“She did exactly what she wanted to do,” said her mother, Mary Ann Soenksen, 24 hours after two Army officials came to her northwest Davenport home to inform her of her daughter’s death. “We raised the kids to be their own people.”

A chaplain and a captain knocked on the Soenksen home door at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday. “I knew when it’s two ... . I knew what it meant,” her mom said.

Mary Ann Soenksen opened the last e-mail she received from her daughter this morning. It was about the extension for getting her taxes done. Dad, Ron Soenksen, text-messaged back and forth nearly every day. When he is on his way to work in the afternoon, it is evening in Iraq.

Katie Soenksen, 19, and a 2005 graduate of North, came from a military family. Her grandfather was military police in World War II. Her aunt is set to become a colonel in the Air Force this summer. Two uncles are in the military, as is a niece.

Soenksen was a member of the 410th Military Police Company, based at Fort Hood, Texas. She enlisted in the Army after her graduation from high school in 2005. The Army sent her to Iraq last summer.

She is the 52nd Iowan to die in Iraq, the third woman. She is the second Iowan to die in five days in Baghdad.

Thanks to the Davenport, Iowa Quad City Times for this information.

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