On this Memorial Day, we bring you a tribute to a young American soldier, one who sacrificed his life for the cause of freedom on Good Friday of this year.
David Pautsch struggles to read a heartfelt Facebook message from one of his sons to another.
"Hey Jason, this is your brother. You're with the Lord now. We will always remember your sweet smile and personality. I love you so much Jason. You were my hero, and I miss you, and you're in Heaven."
The recipient of the message is David's second oldest son, Army Corporal Jason Pautsch.
At just 20 years old, Jason lost his life in Iraq.
"You find it hard to believe that it could actually be happening, and then it sinks in, and that's when the emotions hit," David said.
Jason and four other soldiers were killed on Good Friday of this year after a suicide bomber detonated a ton of explosives in Mosul.
David strongly believes his son did not die in vain.
"He just despised the gutlessness of some of these politicians who questioned the whole value and the purpose of the war over in Iraq. But he went after it, and he paid the ultimate price," David said.
Jason's midwest community of the Quad Cities recognized his valor, and hundreds lined the streets for his funeral procession, attended his funeral service, and stood watch at his burial.
They were there to welcome their hero home.
"Lead me home, and I will rest in You. He died fighting for his country -- a hero to all, especially his little sister," said Jason's sister, Jenna.
"This final ending or rather a new beginning. I can't say I'm ready, but if God is for us, who can be against us," she said.
Some may ask, "Why must a man be cut down in the prime of his life?"
Perhaps, it's so others will awaken to a new understanding of freedom, a freedom worth dying for.
"I think it's rather fitting in a way that Jason died on Good Friday because I know Someone Else Who lost a Son on Good Friday, and we're talking about Jesus Christ, Himself," David said.
And Jesus, himself, welcomed this hero to his heavenly home.
"He's meeting friends and relatives, and people who also honored the Lord and came to know Him, and learned that the glory of having the blood of Jesus wash your sins away," David said.