This iconic photograph drew a number of responses from readers of the Nashville paper, The Tennessean, including this one:
The Tennessean's April 5 photograph of young Christian Golczynski accepting the American flag from Marine Lt. Col. Ric Thompson is one of the most moving and emotion provoking images I have ever seen.
As one would expect, many of your readers were touched by this incredible picture. Staff Sergeant Golczynski had previously served one full tour in Iraq. Shortly before his death on March 27 he wrote to his family that he had volunteered to do this a second time due to our deep desire to finish the job we started. In his letter he said, "We fight and sometimes die so that our families don't have to." Tragically, Staff Sergeant Golczynski had only two weeks remaining on his second tour. We look at the photograph of Christian every day. It is displayed prominently in our home. Our hearts ache for Christian and for all those who have lost loved ones in this controversial conflict.
When looking at the face of Christian Golczynski I am reminded that doing what is right is not always easy and doing what is easy is not always right. Christian's dad knew that too.
I have looked into the eyes of a family member as I handed him or her a folded American flag at the end of a military burial service. I have fought to maintain my composure as I said, "On behalf of a grateful nation . . ." And looking at this picture I am struck by several thoughts:
Lieutenant Colonel Thompson is not some administrative staffer for whom the notion of service and sacrifice is some vague concept to be carted out when it's politically expedient. He feels the tragedy to his marrow. Yet he can look in the eyes of this fallen warrior's son and offer compassion, strength, and hope.
Staff Sergeant Golczynski would have taught Christian what it takes to be a good citizen, husband, and man.
There is peace and clarity of purpose in Staff Sergeant Golczynski's legacy. That is a father's gift to his son. That should see Christian through.
Regardless of our politics or stances on the Iraq war, we should be mindful of the fact that scenes like this are playing out daily across this country.