Evergreen Park, IL soldier dies in Afghanistan – Presidential salute

In the early morning hours of October 29, 2009, President Obama, in an unannounced tribute, along with a small group of dignitaries and family members honored Cook County’s son, Spc. Jared D. Stanker, 22, of Evergreen Park, by attending his dignified transfer event back to the United States by transport plane at Dover Air Force Base, Delaware. Spc. Stanker and all 18 returning heroes who perished this past week were each honored with a dignified silent salute by President Obama, high ranking officers and government officials. The President met with family members privately before the dignified transfer event, including Mr. and Mrs. Kevin Stanker.

Spc. Stanker is a 2006 graduate of Brother Rice High School. He enlisted shortly after graduation. This was his first deployment. He had just celebrated his 22nd birthday. He is the first military casualty from Evergreen Park in the last 20 or more years.

Defensive Department spokesman related that Spc. Jared D. Stanker, was one of seven soldiers who died Tuesday, October 27, 2009, in Arghandab Valley, Afghanistan, after enemy forces attacked their vehicle with an improvised explosive device. The troops were assigned to the 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 5th Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division, Fort Lewis, Wash.

He is survived by his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Keith Stanker and an older sister. Arrangements for return of his remains to Cook County and his family, as well as burial arrangements are pending.

United We Stand. Divided We Fall, is a well known statement, but few actually stand up for freedom. Most of us just talk the talk and feel good. A very few walk the walk and put themselves in harm’s way. Spc. Stanker chose to walk the walk, as a patriot in order to protect us all from terrorists, and paid the ultimate sacrifice. One of his favorite quotes from his web site: “The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing. ” Edmund Burke 1729-1797

Please prepare to honor our son, our brother, our neighbor, our countryman, who made the ultimate sacrifice for freedom thousands of miles from home. Please unite in prayer and remembrance, in comfort for his family, and in greater determination to support our troops and support our government in its efforts to bring an end to this war, an end to the era of terrorism instead of dialogue in the world, and an end to the fear that is pervasive not just in the United States, but around the world as a result of decades of failed diplomacy. _________________________________________________________________________ The following are the writer’s personal thoughts: In memory of Spc. Stanker and his patriotic devotion to his country, because I believe he would have understood the meaning of these famous remarks, I offer the following quotes:

“There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil to one who is striking at the root.” — Henry David Thoreau

“It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. The war is actually begun! The next gale that sweeps from the north will bring to our ears the clash of resounding arms! Our brethren are already in the field! Why stand we here idle? What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so dear, or peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death!” – Patrick Henry, March 23, 1775

 “God grants liberty only to those who love it, and are always ready to guard and defend it.” – Daniel Webster

If a man hasn’t discovered something he will die for, he isn’t fit to live. – Martin Luther King

I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country. – Nathan Hale, age 21, last words before being hung by the British September 22, 1776

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