Six years ago on Sunday, Sgt. Michael Ferschke Jr. was killed in Iraq. And since then, Mikey, the son he never had the chance to meet, pays tribute to his father.
With a couple of markers and the blocky handwriting of a youngster learning to write, Mikey scrawls a love note to dad on a bunch of balloons before releasing them into the sky, completing an annual memorial to keep his father in mind.
Gunnery Sgt. Jimmy Stare captured this personal tribute in a quick video.
Ferschke was a radio operator and was fatally shot while storming a building in Salah a Din province that was holding several insurgents. Just a month before he was killed he married Hotaru Nakama, his girlfriend back in Okinawa, Japan. A month later she gave birth to Mikey.
Ferschke’s widow’s struggle to move to the U.S. after his death required an act of Congress and presidential approval to get resolved. The couple married by phone while he was deployed and Nakama received death benefits from the Defense Department after he was killed. But the Department of Homeland Security, the enforcers of immigration law, didn’t recognize their marriage and didn’t extend benefits, including ones that would have allowed Nakama to come to the U.S.
Eventually Congress passed the Marine Sergeant Michael H. Ferschke Jr. Memorial Act, and on Dec, 10, 2010 President Obama signed it into law, resolving the immigration snafu. The legislation only applies to this case.