Monday, January 22, 2018
Opinion

Community reaches out in family's trying time

Editor's note: On Oct. 13, Army Spc. Brittany Bria Gordon, an Army intelligence analyst, was killed when a suicide bomber attacked her unit in Kandahar, Afghanistan, becoming the first female soldier from Tampa Bay to die in the recent wars. This is a letter of thanks to the community written by her father, St. Petersburg assistant police chief Cedric Gordon.

Our daughter tragically lost her life while doing what she loved — protecting and serving her country. As a soldier, Brittany understood and accepted the moral obligation to serve a cause greater than her own self-interest.

This was an overwhelming, devastating loss that brought great sorrow to me, my family and many of you. In spite of this difficult and trying time, my faith continues to be renewed and inspired by the overwhelming and loving outpouring of support from the people in this great community, state and nation.

I had a monumental task and moral obligation to memorialize Brittany in a way that would be deserving of her act of heroism and bravery. This could not have been accomplished without the support of all of you. As a community, we united in a common cause to achieve this goal. Thanks to you, by all accounts, we exceeded our goal and met our responsibility to Brittany.

Again, this could not have been accomplished without you. My family and I are eternally grateful. Your overwhelming acts of kindness came, and continue to come, in all forms for Brittany and my family — contributions, countless cards, letters, poems, emails, text messages, phone calls, children's drawings, candles, flowers, food, well wishes, prayers, and acts of service by those just pitching in to help — just to name a few.

I would like to thank all the law enforcement agencies and military personnel who supported our family at the services for our daughter Brittany. The entire nation has given, and continues to demonstrate, tremendous love and support to our family.

Please continue to remember the legacy of Brittany by being a beacon of everlasting hope and peace and keep our family in your thoughts and prayers. We must never forget the significance of her sacrifice and remember that all of our destiny is intertwined as we, the nation, continue to come together on a higher plane of dignity, peace, trust, respect and love.

As we celebrate this Veterans Day, let us never forget these brave men and women who are the best and brightest that this world has to offer, and always give them the support and love that they have earned and deserve.

As my daughter Brittany would say to me, "Dad, make it do what it do, and get 'er done!"

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