USMC Staff Sgt. Jason Rogers

12:43 PM

I'm a little overcome at the moment. There has been a local blog link floating on Facebook that I've been trying to read for several days, but it wouldn't load for me until just a few moments ago. What I knew is that a soldier who died in action in Afghanistan was brought home to rest this past Saturday in his hometown of Brandon, Miss., which happens to be my own.

When I played the video on the link, it suddenly hit me like an anvil that Sgt. Jason Rogers is someone I once met. Several years ago I dated a guy from Pearl, Miss. He would often tell me about his best friend Jason who was a marine stationed overseas. I finally had the chance meet him one year over the holidays while Jason was home, almost near the end of a very long tour. I was nervous about the introduction because he was so important to Chris.
We hung out at Jason's home, and I met some of his family. Then we drove to a nightclub in Jackson that has changed names so many times, I couldn't tell you what it was called at the time. I wasn't 21, but I did have an id on me that I had borrowed from a friend for a recent trip to SXSW.
I was called on it by the bouncer and not allowed in. We were with several people, but I didn't have my own vehicle. Chris would have to take me home, but I didn't want to ruin this chance for he and Jason to spend time together. I called my best friend and asked him to pick me up from the club so Chris and Jason could stay. That's the only time I can recall seeing Jason, although I'm sure there were a couple others.

Chris later told me that Jason had chosen to go back overseas to continue fighting, that he wouldn't be finished when this tour was over. To be honest, I couldn't comprehend it at the time.
Now it's clear to me that Jason was prepared to die for what he believed in and that's exactly what he did.

I'm proud that this marine was from Brandon, Miss., and that the community came out to pay their respect, without the cheap interruption of Westboro Baptist Church's antics. I've had my run-ins with that group, but that's for another blog post. The fact that they were kept out shows a turning of the tides in the battle against hate acts. Jason Roger's loved ones can take comfort in knowing that his life was not in vain, and his death certainly wasn't either.

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