Navy SEAL’s emotional letter to his fallen brothers in arms

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Retired U.S. Navy SEAL officer Jocko Willink wrote an emotional letter to his fallen brothers in arms on Memorial Day 2023.

Willink has become a popular author, podcaster, and leadership consultant. He advocates for personal responsibility and accountability, and he believes that everyone has the power to control their own destiny.

Born in Torrington, Connecticut, Willink graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in history in 1993. He enlisted in the Navy and was assigned to SEAL Team 3. He served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and was awarded the Silver Star, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

“Hey Brother,” Willink begins the letter.

“Just checking in. Looks like some of the other boys have come by today. Lots of flowers. Did you ever think you’d be getting a bunch of flowers from guys in the platoon? I sure didn’t.”

“But here you go. They’ll look good for a little while anyway. Then they’ll wilt and brown. Then the gravekeeper will take them away. Nothing stays forever.”

“I wish you could have stayed a little longer, though,” Willink wrote. “I’d really like to see you smile again. Hear you laugh. Your laugh made other people laugh—me included.”

“A little joy in the world. Joy that is now gone. I miss that. I miss you.”

“But the world moves on. Time stops for no man. Look at me. Gray hair. Wrinkled skin.”

“I will not squander a moment—not a breath, not a sunset, not a laugh. I will live to honor the gift you gave me. I’m the old guy we used to laugh about.”

“Who’s laughing now?” Willink joked. “Even my kids are all grown up. They aren’t kids anymore. You’d be proud.”

“Time goes quick. You taught me that. You taught me so much. I was angry at first—angry at you, angry at myself, angry at the world. I couldn’t understand why—why you? Why were you taken from this world? Taken from me?

“My anger grew—but it was all for me. Selfish. Eventually, the anger consumed itself. I realized my anger was unwarranted.”

“Over time, it diminished. Instead, I became thankful. Thankful to have known you. Thankful to have spent time with you.Thankful to have served alongside you.”

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“Thankful to call you friend and brother. Thankful for this life you have given me. You won’t grow old so I can. Your dreams were lost so my dreams could be found. Your hopes were extinguished, so my hopes could be realized.”

“Your future was cut short—so my future could flourish. In your death, you gave me life. I will live this life to the fullest.”

“I promise: I will not squander a moment—not a breath, not a sunset, not a laugh. I will live to honor the gift you gave me. The life I owe to you. I will never forget.”

“Until next time, Your Brother,” Willink concluded.

After retiring from the Navy in 2010, Willink co-founded Echelon Front, a leadership consulting company. He also co-authored Extreme Ownership with Leif Babin, a fellow former SEAL. The book became a New York Times bestseller and has been translated into over 20 languages.

Willink is a frequent speaker on leadership and personal development. He has appeared on The Joe Rogan Experience, The Tim Ferriss Show, and many other podcasts. He is also the author of the Discipline Equals Freedom Field Manual, a New York Times bestseller.

Willink is a role model for many people. He is a living example of what can be achieved through hard work, dedication, and perseverance. He is an inspiration to those who seek to lead and win in their own lives.