Memorial Day weekend has various forms of relevance and significance to American society, but it fundamentally remains a moment to remember and to honor those who have died, often under horrific circumstances, in the service of our country.
And so it’s appropriate to share the story of one of the most recent American soldiers killed in action.
On May 5, 38-year-old Kyle Milliken became the first American service member killed in Somalia since the early 1990s, dying in a firefight during a raid. The Maine native and former track athlete at UConn had a connection to the Patriots; in 2011, Milliken and other Navy SEALs took part in a training exercise at Gillette Stadium.
Milliken spent 15 years in the Navy, earning a spot on SEAL Team Six and securing four Bronze Stars for his efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Bill Speros of the Boston Herald explains that, at Milliken’s funeral this week, quarterback Tom Brady delivered a video message to the family, thanking his wife and their two children for their sacrifice.
“It was an honor to host Kyle and his team for an exercise at Gillette Stadium in 2011,” Patriots owner Robert Kraft said in a statement earlier this week, via Speros. “It gave new meaning to the stadium being known as home of the Patriots. We were deeply saddened to hear of Kyle’s death earlier this month.
“As Memorial Day weekend approaches, we are reminded of the sacrifices made by patriots like Kyle and so many others who have made the ultimate sacrifice to defend and protect our rights as Americans. Our thoughts, prayers and heartfelt appreciation are extended to the Milliken family and the many families who will be remembering lives lost this Memorial Day weekend.”
We extend our condolences to Kyle Milliken’s family and to all for whom Memorial Day serves as a tangible and painful reminder of the sacrifice made by a family member, loved one, colleague, or friend.