David F Day
Saint Louis Park, Minnesota
February 21, 2005
Killed in Baghdad, Iraq.
|Command Sergeant Major Erik Arne’s address at a monument dedication to Dave on July 9th. 2005 in Morris. It is an accurate account of how Dave lived, what he stood for, and how he served.
The date of 21 February 2005 has been etched into the small communities of Western Minnesota such as Appleton, Marshall, Morris, Ortonville, Montevideo, and the city of St. Louis Park for all eternity. For it was on that day that the lives of three young brave men from Charlie Company, 1st Battalion 151st Field Artillery were sacrificed for their country and their comrades half a world away.
On that morning 1LT Jason Timmerman, SSG David Day and SGT Jesse Lhotka were conducting what was supposed to be an ordinary mission. The mission turned out to be anything but ordinary; 1LT Timmerman, SSG Day and SGT Lhotka were traveling in the 2nd Echelon of Charlie Company on a mission. They had departed the company area at approx 7:00 a.m.; 1LT Timmerman and SSG Day were in the same HUMMV with their driver. (This may not be accurate, recent accounts put 1LT Timmerman in a 3rd. HUMMV. Dave’s driver told me it was he, a gunner, and Dave in their HUMMV.) SGT Lhotka was in another HUMMV with his driver and gunner that lost control
somehow, left the road, and began to roll, injuring two soldiers. The small convoy stopped and did what it was trained to do, provide security around the scene and begin assisting the injured. Staff Sergeant David Day, the squad leader of most of those on the scene did exactly what he was trained to do, take care of his men. After a medivac was called in, the first injured soldier was carried to a helicopter; the second soldier was being carried on a stretcher by 1LT Timmerman; SSG Day, SGT Lhotka and a soldier from another unit who had also stopped to provide security.
As they carried the soldier across the road towards the helicopter, an explosion occurred within a few feet of the group. Three soldiers from Western Minnesota died that morning and two others were seriously wounded.
Many of you did not personally know Staff Sergeant David Day – but you did. You know of the boys who grew up from this area; playing ball in the park, riding bike to the store with a buck from mowing, and excitement on what awaited. Swimming and fishing in the Pomme de Terre, playing cops and robbers throughout the neighborhood, chasing the fire trucks when they came flashing by, going to scout camp, and pretending the enemies of America were in the backyard and he was an Army Sergeant stopping them in their tracks. You know of the young men, desiring to be their own man, going off to vocational school or college, joining the service or going to work in the local elevator, and eventually finding their own way. You know of the these men, marrying their high school sweethearts, or a new love-of-their-life. Oh yes, you know Dave Day – but he was more; Dave found that serving and protecting was his calling. Whether as an
Eagle Scout, a Community Service Officer, a Police Officer with the St. Louis Park Police Department, a Soldier in the Minnesota Army National Guard, or a son and a husband. Dave Day was dedicated to serving and giving back to those who had given to him. Staff Sergeant Day lived out his childhood imaginings and found his own way with duty, honor, and courage.
Duty: an act or course of action required of one by position, custom, law, or regulation. Moral obligation: The compulsion felt to meet such obligations. These are just a few of the definitions listed in most dictionaries. On the morning of 21 February 2005 SSG Day was performing his duty. More than just the duty that he swore to the day he pledged the Oath to serve his President and country. He was doing the duties of a Warrior. “I will always place the mission first”; He was out on a mission; helping to protect and secure the new State of Iraq. He did not hesitate to accept this mission when the Charlie Company Commander issued it, therefore placing the mission ahead of himself.. “I will never accept defeat”. He did not accept defeat; when one of his own teams lost a vehicle, he reacted quickly to recover his soldiers and vehicle and attempted to continue on with the assigned mission.
Honor; personal integrity maintained without legal or other obligations;
“I will never quit” ; He certainly did not quit just because something had gone wrong – he obligated himself to carry on as did the rest of his squad from Company C to set up security around the parameter of the scene and help his comrades.
Courage: Some say that courage is the Lack of Fear; I say Courage is having fear, but knowing and understanding your fear – using it to motivate you and knowing how to put it aside when duty calls. Staff Sergeant Day certainly overcame any fears when he assessed the situation and reacted in a way to assist his men. . “I will never leave a fallen comrade”.
It is right that we pay tribute to Staff Sergeant David Day and place a memorial within this community - but not just as a reminder of a boy, a man, a son and a husband, but that of a servant with duty, honor and courage – to those he loved dearly and those he served bravely.
I am honored and proud to be a part of this event. And to Amy, David & Vickie on behalf of the 1st Battalion 151st Field Artillery, the Community of Morris, the State of Minnesota and the Army National Guard, the St. Louis Park Police, and friends, thank you for letting all of us know Dave – he will be forever remembered!
1Lt Jason Timmerman, SSG David F Day, and SGT Jesse Lhotka received the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart for their actions on 21Feb2005.
Father of a fallen Eagle
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