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2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez (In Memorial)Poetry by Luke Easter Salem-News.com
A tribute to the first black female West Point grad killed in Iraq.
(LOS ANGELES) - 2nd Lt. Emily J.T. Perez, age 23, deployed to Iraq in December as a Medical Service Corps officer. The young officer was killed when a makeshift bomb exploded near her Humvee during combat operations in Al Kifl, near Najaf.
Emily was the first female graduate of West Point to die in the Iraq War, and according to Wikipedia, the first West Point graduate of the "Class of 9/11" to die in combat, and the first female African-American officer to die in combat.
Born in Heidelberg, West Germany of African American and Hispanic parents in a U.S. military family, Emily is a graduate of Oxon Hill High School, in Maryland, where she was wing commander of Junior ROTC.
As a high school student, working with the District's Peace Baptist Church, Emily Perez helped begin an HIV-AIDS ministry after family members contracted the virus.
In July 2001, after graduation from high school, she entered the United States Military Academy at West Point.
According to Wikipedia, "There she was an exemplary student and talented track athlete. Following graduation from West Point, she was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the 204th Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division of the United States Army."
Her decorations include the Purple Heart, Bronze Star , Commendation Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, the Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Combat Action Badge. She posthumously received the NCAA Award of Valor in 2008.
2nd Lieutenant Emily J.T. Perez (In Memorial)
Saddened when in the local paper of parents Daniel & Vicki I read,
At that time she was small in stature but big in heart,
Active with Peace Baptist Church residing at Fort Washington,
Assistant Principal N. Laney said, “this wasn’t some average Joe,”
An Oxon Hill High School wing commander in the Junior ROTC,
As the platoon leader Perez was patrolling Iraq in a military Humvee,
LaVena Lynn Johnson, James Sabow and Emily Perez, serving their country,
by Luke Easter
Luke Easter is a poet who writes about things that are very close to the heart of Salem-News.com. Another former U.S. Marine, Luke heals the world with an approach that reaches people on a different level, one known for centuries, yet too often forgotten in the one we live in.
We live in a world of social & economic injustice. The main reason for founding America in the first place was to relieve the oppression of the King of England. Patrick Henry said it best, “give me liberty or give me death.” And yet, all too often death seems to be the only way out. Why is there such a high suicide rate especially among teens, in the land of the free & the home of the brave? What makes headlines? Good news? Ha! More depressing stories than anything else. I feel poetry takes an edge off the hurt of bad news while still delivering it but in a, “glitzy” sort of way. Giving a different perspective. Kind of like slap in the face as opposed to a knife in the back. At least with the slap you’ll live to see another day and you will know whom it’s from. I wasn’t here for the beginning of the world but at 59, I just might be here for the end.
Even though it’s still a knife, rhyme poetry helps to dull the blade. And that’s my job. You can write to Luke Easter at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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