2008.06.17 the long way home:

Hard to believe it's been well over a year since my last post here. In that last post, I promised I'd tell my brother's story when the time was right, but now I'm not convinced there ever will be a right time. I had hoped to get Javan to write something for me, but he got a surprise opportunity to sail the high seas as a midshipman on a british frigate before I could gently pester him. In lieu of that, I'll fall back to a message that he posted two days after the terrible attacks at Virginia Tech.

On 16 April 2007, Cadet Matthew Joseph La Porte was fatally wounded while actively resisting an armed attacker. In an act of total selflessness and extreme valor, Cadet La Porte threw himself in the line of fire between the gunman and several endangered civilians, and began to fight the attacker hand-to-hand before being mortally wounded by handgun fire. La Porte died a hero, and indeed, showed us all the true meaning of "deeds not words."

As many of you know, Matt was my best friend on this campus. I was lucky enough to spend many hours with him on his last full day on this earth, and both of his last two meals, the two of us had together. His last meal was Burger King, a whopper, king-size fry, and king-size cherry lime slushie. He was still hungry afterwards.

A year later, and the wounds are still fresh. I don't want to take this post too far, because ultimately it's my brother's loss to deal with in his own way, but I did want to take a moment to honor his friend. I'm sure Javan's had enough of public platitudes, but I would appreciate, if you think of him, to send some mental goodwill his way.

Matt La Porte bio at New York Times.

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