Gold Star Mothers have their own distinction

Published 9:32 am Thursday, May 11, 2023

By Harold Brummett
Denmark Star Route

Marine Corporal Michael Brandon Presley was wounded in Fallujah Iraq on the 12th of December 2005 and died of his wounds two days later on the 14th. He belonged to the 2nd Combat Engineering Battalion and was in a convoy moving supplies. Some of his buddies said they were carrying ballots that would let the Iraqi women vote for the first time. What an American thing to do.

Traffic had stopped to allow the convoy to pass and everyone did except for one taxicab on the side of the road. Corporal Presley motioned for the taxicab to move back and alerted others of the potential danger. The taxicab continued to inch forward and the Marines, not wanting to kill or injure some innocent, hesitated. What an American thing to do.

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At the point of the Marines firing on the taxicab, the suicide bomber blew himself up and mortally wounded Marine Corporal Presley. Two days later, with the Corps trying to get his mother to Germany to be with her son, Pam Presley Tolbert became a Gold Star Mother. A distinction Ms. Tolbert would do anything not to have.

Marine Corporal Presley was 21 years old, the same age his father was when he passed away in an automobile accident. Marine Corporal Presley had a high school sweetheart and they planned to be married after his service. Corporal Presley played on a state championship football team, was a great son, brother, nephew and grandson.

I have watched veterans around Gold Star recipients. There is a deep reverence and respect given by the veterans because they know that it is by the grace of God their own Mothers would have owned that distinction. Veterans live each day realizing they are living the life that Marine Corporal Presley and other honored dead would never get to complete.

Marine Corporal Presley lies next to his father in a cemetery in Panola County. Both will be forever 21. If there is a bond stronger than blood, it is one of tears and grief. Marine Corporal Michael Brandon Presley’s mother, friends and relatives visit his grave.

Marine brothers who were with him in Iraq visit as well. These Marines live two lives. One life is theirs, the other life they live is to honor Marine Corporal Michael Brandon Presley.

Semper Fidelis