On Jan. 17, 2004, Sgt. Edmond Randle of Miami Gardens became the first documented South Florida soldier to be killed by anti-US insurgents in Iraq.
Today is Memorial Day. It is the day we honor those that given their lives in military service to this country. It is not just a day off from work or school or a day to have a barbeque with family and friends; it is a day to celebrate men and women such as Sgt. Edmond L. Randle, Jr., also known as Dakie.
The Miami Herald published a moving tribute to Dakie in its Sunday, May 25, edition. It was painful to read of the heartache his mother Karla McKnight-Randle still copes with more than four years later. I recall sitting through Dakie's funeral at Ebenezer Baptist Church, listening to the FAMU Band play and the moving tributes to him by friends.
I'd known Dakie's parents from high school; his dad and I were classmates at Miami Central and later at Florida A&M. Dakie followed in his dad's footsteps. Read the Herald article to learn about the kind of young man he was. The war in Iraq takes on a different meaning when you know a soldier that was killed.
We are still at war although Mr. President Bush proclaimed it ended several years ago. Like Dakie, many other lives have been lost and are being lost in service to this country. Regardless of my personal perspective on any of wars fought by this country, for all of the fallen heroes and those who survived, THANK YOU.