By Saturnino F. Lorenzo Jr.
At about 10:00 in the morning, my cell phone rang and it was a long distance call from my son, Kristofferson. He said “Dad, we are leaving for Afghanistan today, “referring to his contingent bound for the war zone- “OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM.” He was assigned to 1st Platoon, Co. A, 2nd Battalion 27th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, based @ Schofield Army Barracks, Hawaii.
In the continuing phone conversation, he asked “Dad, what is your verse for me today?” I thought for some seconds and these Bible verses come to my mind and I said “Son, the message of Moses to Joshua when they were to cross the Jordan River before getting into the Promised Land.” Chapter 31 verse 7 and 8 of Deuteronomy says “Then Moses summons Joshua
and said to him in the sight of all Israel. Be strong and be courageous, for you shall go with these people which the Lord had sworn to their fathers to give them.” V: 8 It is the Lord who goes before you; he will be with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you, do not fear nor be dismayed.” And I said “Son, you must be strong, as a soldier, a squad leader to lead your men, strongwilled in your decisions and directions for them and be of good courage to inspire and encourage them without fear or favor, heads up to face danger in any A father’s loving tribute to his son enemy encounter. Don’t forget to pray to the Lord for His guidance and direction along your path. And he said “Dad, these verses have given me strength and encouragement. Thank you very much.” And I finally said “GOD bless you son.”
Two weeks passed and I called up my daughter-in-law in Hawaii and asked about Kristofferson’s stand in his assignment and activities. And she said everything is alright as his regiment is stationed in Kunar province. I was happy also to know that their two young sons, Keane, four year old and Tristan, two year old are growing well… grandchildren.
On May 23, 2011, the sad news came to us that four NATO soldiers were killed when their vehicle hit an improvised explosive device (IED). My son, SSG Kristofferson B. Lorenzo and three of his men died. It was a bitter pill to swallow. Grief and sorrow overshadowed my whole family. His loving wife Leah and two kids took it deep. He left also his two close-hearted sisters Catherine and Charina and a caring stepmother Aurora. I just keep strong and thankful for the word of the Lord in Psalm 127:3 – “Lo, sons are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.”
I remember vividly on his first deployment to Afghanistan. I told him before his departure “Son you are going on a long and far journey and I don’t know what would be life there and we may not see each other again.” I wish that all of us will be together even after this life. He was just quietly listening and I said if you are willing in your heart to accept the LORD Jesus as Savior and Lord, I could lead you to a prayer and follow me. He nodded and I led him in prayer for his salvation and commitment to follow the LORD JESUS. I know that at this time he is with his dear mom and younger brother Christian in Abraham’s bosom.
Kris has a lot of interest and future prospects. I remember him telling me “Dad, when I retire, I will set up my mechanic shop as he loves tinkering and repairing cars. Mechanically minded, he earlier bought a big tool box with tools. Noted to friends and close buddies, he is a whiz mechanic.
To his living comrades-in-arms my deep and profound respect and to his fallen fellow soldiers my honorable salute. My heartfelt thanks to the Commander in-Chief, some Senators, Congressmen, government officials and top military officers and men for their letters of condolences, encouragement and assistance to us. To the thousands of friends, buddies and relatives, my unending gratitude.
I do well agree and give respect what Congressman Walter B. Jones of North Carolina, as he quotes the book of John 15:13. Jesus says “Greater love has no man than this that he lay down his life for his friend;”…. his family and country. His brave service exceeded all measures of selfless devotion to his country.
The memory of SSG Kristofferson B. Lorenzo will always be live and linger in memory as he showed a life worth emulating, did his job and mission well which is worth remembering.
FREEDOM… only the brave know the cost. To you son, I give my salute.