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.

I wear Will’s memorial bracelet every time I leave the house. When people ask me about it, I am eager to let them know Will’s story. When people talk about heroes, I tell them what a true hero is. Will Stacey is a person who risked his life to save innocent people caught in the crossfire of a war they didn’t ask for. That is real heroism in an age where the word is used cavalierly. Next time you hear someone called a hero, measure them against that.

I’m really glad to meet everyone I’ve met between Seattle and D.C., but especially glad to have reconnected with my brothers from Weapons Company. Getting together again with you guys for the first time in nearly a year reminds me of what friendship and brotherhood really mean. Putting the uniform on again after so long made me so proud because Will wore the same uniform, and he was proud of it. I will always be proud that I was a United States Marine, even if you take away everything else, because I got to work with Will when he was in his element, and I even got the privilege to live with him. I miss you, buddy.