We all have different memories of Memorial Day.  Some remember hot dogs and trips to the lake.  Some remember a grandfather or uncle who served in World War II or Viet Nam.  I remember 1SGT Saenz.  We all met at Ft. Jackson on March 13, 2005.  We numbered a little over a hundred members of the  Individual Ready Reserve.  We reported to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina for in-processing and reintroduction to the US Army.  We knew we would be deploying to Iraq.  Then MSGT Saenz had a huge laugh and a booming voice.  He smiled and laughed a lot.  

Those first few days, some Reservists were angry about being called up. Some were happy to serve from the get-go.  MSGT Saenz seemed pretty happy to be where he was, preparing for responsibility in a war zone.  Later, as I learned, he performed very well and inspired his soldiers.  

He died on the dusty streets of Baghdad.  We were all leaving Iraq in just a couple of weeks when his HMMWV was struck by an IED.  He was out on a convoy training members of the incoming unit.  Some of his regular team members were not with him on that run. He died doing what he did very well: serving others. 

We should all serve our country half as well as 1SGT Saenz.  Rest easy, Top.  You did well.