|From Chad 08/01/06:
My Brother, Ian
Captain Ian Weikel was killed in action on April 18, 2006, while serving his country in Iraq. Ian was a husband, father, son, brother, friend, and soldier. Ian loved his Lord, his family, his soldiers, and his country. Ian was a warrior, for his country, and for his Lord Jesus Christ.
Ian grew up in Colorado Springs and graduated from Fountain-Ft. Carson High School. After graduating from West Point, he was stationed at Fort Carson and Fort Hood, Texas. He served overseas in Bosnia and was serving his second tour in Iraq. Ian will be missed by his wife Wendy, his son Jonathan Troy, his parents Dave and Beth, his brother Chad, his grampa Bill, and countless friends and soldiers.
Ian was buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
It was not the way Ian died that made him a hero; it was the way he lived.
Ian Takes the Blame -
I was about 5 and Ian was 7. We had a basement at our old house where mom and dad turned us loose. It wasn’t finished, but I think they padded the walls and put some plastic down on the floor to minimize the carnage.
You may not believe this, but Ian and I tore that place up. Toys were everywhere. One day, dad gave us 10 minutes to clean it up. Since Ian knew I wouldn’t help, we divided the room into two halves so each of us would have our own part of the room to clean up. I promptly sat by the wall and kept playing with our legos. Ian immediately began to clean up – so that he’d be done in time.
Ian kept cleaning. I kept playing. He’d tell me, “You need to help clean, or dad’s gonna get you.” I was still off in lego-land. He’d remind me again. I’d ignore him again. I was resolved to my fate. I was content to play for the ten minutes and take my whupping. Ian finished at the 00:09:30 minute mark. His side of the room was spotless. As he began to sit down to rest, I heard dad’s footsteps coming down the stairs. I decided to lessen the blow of my upcoming whupping.
I sprung up and grabbed a toy from my side of the room to put away. As dad rounded the corner, he saw me putting my first toy away – and he saw Ian slumped against the wall. What came next played out like a slow-motion scene from the movies.
Not one word was said. Ian had a little grin, because he knew I was about to get it.
Dad looked at me putting away the toy. I put on a face that said, “Oh, daddy. I’ve been working and cleaning this whole time while Ian just sat by the wall. Poor me – I’m just a little brother without a leader.” It was all in the face.
Dad shifted his focus to Ian. As dad moved toward him, Ian lost the grin. He tried to explain to dad, but his mouth moved and no words came out. He looked at me, hoping I would explain to dad what really happened. Sorry, Ian, no chance. Ian took a pretty good spanking that day.
In dad’s eyes, Ian had disobeyed. But, more than that, he had fallen short of his leadership responsibilities as a big brother.
I know the truth. Ian never let me down. He was a caring, wise, determined, competitive, supportive, and loving older brother.
I talk sports with all of my buddies. But, Ian was the only one I could talk to who came from the same place, literally and figuratively. He and I grew up playing one-on-one football, sometimes with Dad as all-time QB and sometimes just the two of us. Growing up, my only mission in life was to beat him in basketball and it drove me to be the player I became. We played on the same varsity teams in high school for one year. He was the first person I called when the Broncos won the Superbowl. We always had about ten drafts/pools/wagers with each other during March Madness. He and I would watch the NFL draft in its entirety and I ran his fantasy football teams while he was deployed.
Sports are great teachers. They can be important practice for real life. Through football, rugby, basketball, and other sports, Ian learned leadership, sacrifice, teamwork, communication, determination and many other things that made him the leader he became on the battlefield.
I'll always remember Ian laying his body on the line to stop a Cheyenne Mountain fullback at the goalline. He hit the guy so hard that he knocked himself out – and it was the reason we won the game. I will also always remember Ian laying his life down for his soldiers and laying his life down so his family, my family and families around the world can have the chance to live in freedom.
My Thoughts -
My emotions are still out of control, rage, despair, anguish, confusion, and other indescribable ones. I am consumed by mourning – but, I do not mourn as one without hope. I know where Ian is. He was called to heaven, in part because God had a role for him to fill up there. That gives me hope.
God’s been teaching me to let go of trying to understand the “why”. Instead, I’ve been focusing on the “Who.” The Who is the Lord that loves me and the God Almighty that passionately pursued Ian and personally welcomed Ian into the Kingdom.
In 1 John 4:7-10, it says:
7Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God. 8Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 9This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son[b] into the world that we might live through him. 10This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for[c] our sins.
Some of the hardest times during this last month have been seeing the “Welcome Home Troops” signs everywhere. I was looking forward to the day that I would see Ian step off the bus on Fort Hood and I could tell him, “Welcome home, Ian. Job well done!”
I never got the chance to say that to Ian. But, you know who did? Our Lord God Almighty!
Psalms 73:21-28 says:
21 When my heart was grieved
and my spirit embittered,
22 I was senseless and ignorant;
I was a brute beast before you.
23 Yet I am always with you;
you hold me by my right hand.
24 You guide me with your counsel,
and afterward you will take me into glory.
25 Whom have I in heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
26 My flesh and my heart may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
27 Those who are far from you will perish;
you destroy all who are unfaithful to you.
28 But as for me, it is good to be near God.
I have made the Sovereign LORD my refuge;
I will tell of all your deeds.
So, Ian didn’t get the welcome from me, but our Lord grabbed Ian by his right hand, and told him, “Welcome home! Well done, my good and faithful servant!” Ian is serving the Lord in heaven today. He is there because he believed in Jesus Christ and His gift of grace from the cross.
I know that the enemy may have celebrated taking Ian's life. But, their victory was hollow. They never took Ian's life. Not because they didn't try, but because they couldn't. Ian gave his life to the Lord years ago. So no one, not the terrorists and not Satan, had any claim on Ian’s life.
Ian would frequently send updates to the families of his soldiers. I leave you with words from Ian:
There’s been a lot of press lately as the 3 year anniversary of the liberation of Iraq came and went. We were visited by several media outlets this month, and one of the questions we often heard was, “Is this effort worth it? Is it worth our soldiers lives?”
“Is this effort worth our soldiers’ lives?”
No sacrifice is easy and the loss of every soldier is heart wrenching. However, the liberty of 26 million people is worth it. The Iraqi people were under the boot of an oppressive and ruthless regime. When we have the means and political will we must act. A large amount of the population is under the age of 18. The guys on patrol can attest to this as they’re mobbed daily by the “munchkin brigades” demanding chocolate and soccer balls. You see these children and can’t help but feel that their future is worth it.
It’s an uncertain future fraught with danger and the pitfalls of an emerging government with no democratic tradition and sectarian tension. It’s an uphill battle, and they’re fighting against all odds to succeed…incredibly difficult odds. That doesn’t mean we should give up on them or turn our back on the efforts and sacrifice of the past three years. The new Iraq is an underdog and Americans traditionally love an underdog. Don’t forget that about 230 years ago, we were fighting for our freedom against all odds. Over our history we’ve had to overcome a civil war, world wars, and nuclear annihilation. Over our history we’ve saved millions of lives from around the globe through our willingness to act on behalf of our fellow man.
The second important aspect of this fight is that the United States is in bigger war against terrorists/jihadists bent on our destruction. Prior to “9/11”, we were in denial for over 20 years that we have an enemy bent on our destruction because they despise our ideals and freedom. By attacking the enemy here in Iraq, we keep our families and countrymen safe from attack in the United States. Despite all the despair we hear in the media, this is an important and vital fight. Between Iraq and Afghanistan, thousands of Al Qaeda terrorists are dead. Their leadership is either dead or in hiding. We’re in the process of standing up 10 Iraqi Army Divisions and trying to build a competent and professional police force while supporting and legally elected government. We’ve had setbacks along the way (we will continue to have challenges), but the cycles and dynamic environment of a war don’t translate nicely into a neat solution. We continue to adapt to the enemy and situation and I think if the American people and our government can maintain its resolve, the children we see here in Iraq on a daily basis will enjoy a bright future. More important, we will be able to return home with the knowledge that our families and fellow Americans are safer because we’re fighting and winning our war on terror.
On a personal level, I say a prayer for strength and safety for the guys as we go out daily. I know we have countless families, friends, and total strangers who also care about us on an individual level. Our guys are on the point of the spear every day. They’re not sitting on a forward operating base sucking up air conditioning and eating ice cream. They’re tired, hot, and doing incredibly difficult work. A couple days before we deployed I got everyone together and we talked about doing our best, watching out for each other, and protecting our honor. We’ve just completed the first 100 days and we’ll continue to focus on completing the mission until the day when we all redeploy home to be with our loved ones again.
CPT Ian Weikel
I love you Ian. I miss you. I am proud of you, and I always was. You are my hero. I can’t wait for the day I see you and we can compete for the same team again, side by side.
Your little brother,