All posts in TRIBUTES

Will Stacey Fund – North East Seattle Little League Championship Speech

By Robin Stacey

Thank you all for inviting us to be with you today on the great occasion of the championship game!  Here with me representing Will’s family are his sister Anna, and Charlie Kirkwood and Linda Kellogg, who would have been his in-laws, as Will and their daughter Kimmy were planning to become engaged this summer upon his return from deployment.  Will’s father sends his regrets; he is across town presiding over the Arts and Sciences portion of UW graduation, which is taking place as we speak.

As Will’s family, we have been truly humbled by the attention and generosity that have been shown to us in the wake of his death. Will joined the Marine Corps six years ago as a grunt, an absolute boot, the lowest of the low right out of high school.  By the time he died this past January, he had done five overseas deployments, four of them combat deployments to Afghanistan, and risen steadily up the ranks to become one of the most well-loved and widely-respected sergeants and squad leaders in his battalion.  When the news came of his death, high-ranking commanders from all over Afghanistan flew in for the memorial services; his burial at Arlington was attended by seven generals, including the Vice Commandant of the Marine Corps, one of only two four-star Marine Corps generals in the United States.  Another general in attendance told us that he had had to leave early from a meeting of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in order to be there.

Since that time, Will’s legacy has, if anything, expanded.  A letter he left for us to open in case of his death, in which he detailed his hopes and aspirations for his military service, has now gone around the world.  Portions of it were read by Diane Sawyer on ABC news; it was quoted by Representative Jim McDermott of the floor of Congress and, most recently, formed the core of General John Allen’s Memorial Day remarks to the troops in Kabul.  Two days ago, we learned that the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Virginia would like to place it on display as part of their permanent exhibit of Marine Corps history, a rare honor indeed.   Will himself would have been torn between embarrassment and pride at all this attention, but we are glad that his words survive to give a voice to others in our nation’s armed services whose lives and deaths have not garnered as much attention as has his. Read more…

The Funeral

By Lawrence Dabney

The camera is shaky. As the image swims into focus it grows clear why: a table occupies the frame, two dozen empty shot glasses at its center, marshaled into a pile. At the pile’s peak a generous tumbler of scotch has been perched, glowing like the star on the Christmas tree. Cheers and indecipherable shouts echo from unseen figures around the table. The cameraman declares, “There’s a little bit of Will Stacey in every one of these.”

The moment descends into chaos. The edges of hands and elbows dip into the frame. Somebody tells somebody else repeatedly to put the flash on. Somebody else declares this will work out well. Somebody yells, “Don’t you dare, don’t you da—” just as a hand swoops in to steal the scotch tumbler. Then the video ends.

The Washington Apple, a candified red poison that had previously filled those two dozen shot glasses, was the preferred shooter of Sergeant William Stacey. He would order round after round of them, to his fiancée Kimmy Kirkwood’s great dismay, from any bar he could persuade to make them. Few outside Seattle know the recipe, but it is straightforward enough (crown royale, apple puckers, cranberry juice) to shout across a crowded bar. I’d never had one until I went to Seattle for Will’s memorial service in February this year, when I first met his friends and family. By the time the formal parts of the mourning were done, I’d had enough Washington Apples for an orchard.

The last thing Will Stacey said to me, three months prior, standing inside a piled earth perimeter dug into a vast desert plain on the southern fringe of Afghanistan, was to ask me to send anything I wrote about his squad to his fiancée and his mother. I was leaving, and he was going back out on patrol. His squad was returning to the same place they’d gone the past two days, taking fire both times. This time they’d have UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) support. Insurgents never fired with air support in the area, but UAVs flew too high to be seen or heard. Once the insurgents started shooting, Will explained matter-of-factly, the squad would call the UAV’s Hellfire missiles down onto their compound, and that would be the end of that small piece of the Afghan War. Read more…

Will’s Full In Case of Death Letter

By Will Stacey

“If you’re reading this letter, then my time on this earth has come to an end. There is no easy way to explain the way that I feel; no words that can possibly ease the pain that I’m sure you all are feeling. But if it is any help, know that I died doing what I believed in and most importantly, what I wanted to be doing.

For so many years now, I have wanted to be a soldier and above that, a Marine. There are few things more important to me than that. The Marines are a brotherhood that has stood for 232 years. It is a brotherhood born out of struggle, sacrifice and success. And the price of success causes pain to so many. Over the years so many have died, just as I have. Every Marine hopes that he will never have to make the ultimate sacrifice; but everyone is willing to. There is no Marine on this green earth I have ever met that would put his own safety above that of his loved ones. We do this for the ones we care about; we do this because we believe that the good of the masses is worth more than that of ourselves. Read more…

2/4 Memorial Service Speech – Jerry Lara

By Jerry Lara

The key to Immortality is living a life worth remembering.

On January 31st Sgt William Stacey was immortalized. Will was our friend, hero idol but above all our brother. Any time you come to a new unit you always hear stories about certain marines. Stories that you had to have been there to believe. Well let me tell you everything ever said about Will was true. He was a true 2/4 legend. Everyone had either heard about or knew him. He was loved admired but above all respected by everyone. Read more…

American Hero Will Stacey, Thank You For Your Service

By Will Steacy

I can think of no greater honor or privilege in this world than to share the same name of Sgt. Will Stacey. I hope one day to be half the man you were. Your bravery, courage, honor and patriotism made the world a better place. The values and ideals you lived by and, ultimately, give your life for, are the standard that all Americans should strive to achieve and live by. People like Sgt. Stacey saw the world in the right way and realized that the world is a big place and that the greatest thing a man can do is try to make a positive change in the the world. He lived and died by his words and he gave his life to a greater cause, to doing right by those who have been wronged and that even though he was just one man, he never gave up and never gave in. The world we live in would be a better place if more people tried to just be half the man he was. Sgt. Stacey is an American hero. We need to stop letting hate, anger and fear devour us and instead look at the American heros who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom and our democracy and the values and ideals that they lived by….we could all be better people and a greater country if we strived to be like Sgt. Stacey. Despite your words Will, you in fact made a difference and the world is a better place because of you. I wish I could have shook your hand and thanked you.

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When I Was Three Years Old

By Anna Stacey

When I was three years old

My brother almost dropped me in my fireplace

Parents screamed, flames licked and the air tasted like stale fear and

Words perching on quicksand cliffs

But warm hands reached out Read more…

2/4 Memorial Service Speech – Edward Pricola

Written & Read By Edward Pricola

Sgt, William Stacey. Or Will for some of you that knew him well. I met Will about three and a half years ago when I first came to 2/4. I remember specifically because I had just come to the fleet and he had just got back from his first deployment in Afghanistan. I knew right away something about this guy had this confidence that I have yet to see in any other Marine I’ve met. Read more…

Post Arlington Remembrance of a True Hero

By Kurt Wagner

I’m still stunned from my trip to Washington, D.C. a week ago to attend Will’s burial. Seeing such a close friend and wonderful person laid to rest is heartbreakingly sad, but I know why Will wanted to be buried there. Will rests with a pantheon of American heroes from every conflict in American history at Arlington National Cemetery and it’s fitting, because Will Stacey is a true hero who showed me what Marine brotherhood is really all about.

Read more…


Sergeant William Stacey Tribute from Alex Kirkwood on Vimeo.

Higher Calling

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