Today, I want to say thank you to all the men and women who served, and who currently serve in the military of the United States of America.
I also want to say thank you to their families, and to Mark and Edith Castro in particular.
Thank you, Mark, Edith, and the long line before you, for serving our country, and for teaching others to love America. Thank you, especially for instilling that love and willingness to sacrifice in your son, Brenden. I didn’t know Brenden very well, but he was always a complete gentleman to me and I know how much he meant to Andrew, and how much their friendship molded him into the man that I married. I’m sure Andrew would not be the same person without his friendship. I’m sure he is grateful and proud of you for loving our family and always taking such good care of us. We hope we are making him proud, too.
Thank you, Grandpa, for serving my country and teaching me to respect and appreciate it.
Thank you, Heavenly Father, for letting me have my brother Steven for nine years of my life.
Steven didn’t serve in the military, but I always think of him, especially around this time of year.
I remember how Steven would always play with me. I loved it when he would make movies with us, younger kids. He was the best camera-man/director. I especially liked it when he would lift me over his shoulder and walk around the house announcing “sack of potatoes! sack of potatoes!” or lifting me upside-down over his head so that I could walk on the ceiling. I remember hearing the *bam *bam *bam of the soccer ball hitting the side of the house because he was practicing. I am so grateful that before he left for a job orientation in Utah, I ran back to the car to give him a hug.
My mom made a kind of biography of Steven for all of us, siblings to have. So even though I was only nine when he died, I feel like I still get to know him through the words of others, and the words he wrote himself.
May 12, 1998
”If I were asked what I wanted of the Savior, it would be the salvation of my family, or even a guardian angel to protect them. It’s hard to think of anything to ask the Savior, because he has given everything already. It would be much easier, however, to ask what to do for Him.”
“I have a burning testimony of the truthfulness of the gospel of Jesus Christ. I have felt the Spirit strongly bare this to me. I have made a solemn vow to never take this for granted. I am a son of God and he has chosen me to live in this last dispensation as one of his elect. I have been born to two parents who love me and teach me those things that I will need to return to my Heavenly Father with honor. I take this as a big responsibility, but I like to think of it as a challenge – a war, if you will. I have declared war against Satan, and although he may throw everything that he has against me, I know that the blessings and knowledge that I receive will outweigh those temptations by far. I only hope that whenever temptations come upon me that I will be able to find the way to escape what he has prepared for me.”
Steven Marion Dodds
August 5, 1980 – May 28, 1999
Steven knew it, and I know it. I take such comfort from these words that he has written. I gain so much strength and faith from his example. I learn from his life and I miss him.
I miss him, but I know that we get to be together forever because of choices that he made while here on this earth, and the choices that I make.
I know that I will see Steven again, beyond a shadow of a doubt. He is my brother. He is my friend. He is my guardian angel. I hope I’m making you proud, Steve. Thanks for looking out for me and my family.
I love you!
If you would like to learn more about what Steven and I believe, how you can be with your family forever, or would like to receive a free copy of the Book of Mormon, visit http://www.mormon.org/ , https://www.lds.org/ , or contact the missionaries for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in your area. They’re the guys in white shirts and ties walking around your neighborhood. You can also ask any member of the church in your area. We would love to talk to you.
click here to read more blog posts including my testimony and faith