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May 16, 2012

Honoring Cody

From Yu-Ain Gonnano:

12-year-old Cody Green has always admired the strength and courage of the marines. At 12:35 Saturday afternoon, it was the Marines admiring the strength and courage of Cody.

Cody had leukemia since he was 22 months old, but beat the disease three times. Although he was cancer-free, the chemotherapy lowered his immune system and Saturday afternoon, he died from a fungus that attacked his brain. Members of the Marines decided to step in and do something.

"They decided Cody, with the strength and honor and courage he showed through the whole thing, he should be a Marine," said Cody's father David Snowberger.

Cody was given Marine navigator wings and was made an honorary member of the United States Marine Corps. For one Marine, that wasn't enough, so he did even more.

"The night before Cody passed, he stood guard at Cody's door at the hospital all night long for eight hours straight," said Snowberger.

Cody was a fifth grader at Carroll Elementary School and, if you asked anyone, could only be described in one way.

"He was a comedian all the time," said Snowberger. "I mean, nothing was ever negative. He was just always happy, always worried about everybody else."

There is something worth noting here. The anniversary of my nephew's death from leukemia fell a few weeks ago. Like Cody, he had a long battle with the disease. What his life was like during those years is hard for me to imagine, and yet no matter what was thrown at him, he seemed unfailingly calm, upbeat, and more concerned with others than he ever was with his own struggle.

We read a lot these days about how everything - even challenges our parents and grandparents accepted as part of normal life - is too hard; how no one can succeed without help, how it's understandable for people to simply give up unless the world rewards them for every positive thing they do. The idea of developing character - that quiet form of courage that makes a person rise up every time life knocks him down, that focuses on the positive, that rejects self pity and envy - has mostly given way to the notion that we are fragile spirits, easily crushed or dispirited by even the smallest obstacles: a harsh word, an encounter with someone who isn't convinced of our ineffable wonderfulness, a dearth of praise for our actions.

And then you look at children with cancer, and see how they respond to an adversary with the power to end life. At a time when all seems darkest, the power of the human spirit shines forth brighter than the sun.

No wonder these Marines - themselves renowned for their ability to keep fighting, even against overwhelming odds - honor such courage. That refusal to give up is a quality they recognize, and one that could be said to define the United States Marine Corps.

Posted by Cassandra at May 16, 2012 08:17 AM

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" At a time when all seems darkest, the power of the human spirit shines forth brighter than the sun."

When your opponent is death, a great many perspective-robbing *issues* lose their significance to the battle. One thing that is never lost, rather instead greatly enhanced, is love.

Posted by: DL Sly at May 16, 2012 09:18 AM

R.I.P. Cody. I'm very touched by the honor guard, and I'm sure that's nothing to the gratitude that the family felt.

Posted by: Texan99 at May 16, 2012 09:42 AM

Oh ... I hate it when these things happen.

Rest In Peace, Cody. Semper Fi!

Posted by: htom at May 16, 2012 09:16 PM

I think - if I worked in a children's cancer ward - the only think giving me some inner peace would be my belief in a loving and caring God at the short end for some -

...and a salute to Cody

Posted by: Bill Brandt at May 17, 2012 08:42 AM

We love our Marines. RIP, Cody. You are missed, and when that Great Reunion takes place, you have a very happy family who will embrace you, and never let you go again.

Posted by: Carolyn at May 18, 2012 02:37 PM