Being the mother of Will Stacey has meant being on the receiving end of some very interesting phone calls over the years. I have two favorites from his very early years I want to share with you today. As some of you here will remember, Will was obsessed with military history even when he was very small. During his early “medieval stage”—a stage he was pleased to announce he outgrew around the age of five, clearly wondering why his father and I had not—he organized his playmates at Temple Daycare into a small roving band of Robin Hood type bowmen, firing imaginary arrows drawn from a little yellow shovel stuffed down the back of his shirt that served as a quiver. He also fancied himself quite a knight, his favorite insignia being the royal symbol of the medieval French monarchy, the fleur-de-lis, a three-pointed lily flower that he drew on just about everything he owned. Even at this early age, Will exuded charisma and leadership, and he drew his friends with him into his imaginary medieval world. One day I received a phone call from the worried grandmother of a friend of his. She was baking her grandson’s birthday cake, and it needed to have the shape of a rocket because he was really into rockets. That was all fine; she knew how to do rockets. However, now her grandson had made it clear that no rocket-ship would be acceptable unless it had a fleur-de-lis painted in frosting on the side, and she had no idea what that even was. We sent Will in with a picture for her, and what may be the only rocket in history to bear the medieval insignia of the royal house of France—certainly the only chocolate rocket ever to do so—was pronounced a success by all who attended the party.
Will’s letter to Colin Cameron, August 26, 2009:
“For me, the Marine Corps has been the single most important thing I’ve done in my life, both for my own development as a person and for the simple nature of serving something greater than myself. I will never, and would never, regret joining and all the experiences I’ve had, both good and bad. I’ve seen the horrors of heavy combat in Afghanistan, and the heartbreak of disaster relief operations in Burma/Myanmar. It is heavy stuff; there is nothing easy about any of it, and it’s a big commitment to take on. With that being said, if your heart is truly in it, you will never regret it. Looking back, I still wouldn’t trade any of it for the world. The feeling of pride that you get is something that cannot be explained, as is the importance of the brotherhood you develop with your fellow Marines.”
When great trees fall,
rocks on distant hills shudder,
lions hunker down
in tall grasses,
and even elephants
lumber after safety.When great trees fall
small things recoil into silence,
eroded beyond fear.
Hello, my name is Paul Teeter. Some of you have known Will for his entire life; others for a short time. I have known him for the last 8 years. Will and I developed a special relationship — as high school friends, then through that special bond that we shared as Marines. Read more…
A memorial service was held Saturday at the University of Washington for a 23-year-old Marine who was killed Jan. 31 in Afghanistan.
Sgt. William C. Stacey grew up in Seattle. His parents, Robert and Robin Stacey, are history professors at the university.
The Defense Department said Stacey was killed by a homemade bomb while on foot patrol. He was on his fourth deployment to Afghanistan.
Stacey was assigned to a unit from Camp Pendleton, Calif., and listed his hometown as Seattle, WA.
Will Stacey was my best friend. Having known him for many years, I was able to see him go through many extraordinary transformations – from high school, a short stint in college, to the Marine Corps and finally finding his Kimmy. High school and college were the periods in which Will was finding himself, as we all were; he also was having a great time doing it. The Marine Corps turned him into a man – responsible, extremely punctual, but most of all a self-confident leader. Kimmy balanced his life out and turned him into a true adult, giving credence to the saying “behind every great man there is a great woman,” I never saw Will as happy as when he was with Kimmy.
Will Stacey is a loss twice over, because not only did we lose Will Stacey, the man who grew up in the Carolinas and Seattle, whose parents were history professors who clearly imprinted an impressive intellect and quick aptitude to an enormous variety of tasks, who loved a good time with his friends and the love of Kimmy Kirkwood, but we also lost Sergeant Will Stacey, the single most amazing, proficient, inspiring Marine I have ever worked with. This isn’t post-mortem praise added on for some benefit for the living – Will Stacey was so far above board in his performance and dedication to duty, and his simple knack for being a Marine and doing all things Marine Corps. It is something that always stood out about him almost immediately to everyone.