The first Marine Sgt. Thomas Gilbert Memorial Day of Fishing for Military Kids was held Saturday at Herrick Lake in Wheaton.
Sgt. Gilbert was killed in Iraq on October 25, 2006.
He loved fishing, and caught his first bass at the age of four, with his grandfather, at Herrick Lake. This slideshow is well worth watching, and includes a couple of nice pictures of Sgt. Gilbert, and a couple of laughs from the audio portion.
It was sponsored by the Illinois chapter of Operation Homefront.
I wish I’d known more about it before it happened, rather than after, because it would have been a nice way to honor the memory and family of Sgt. Gilbert, with my two youngest boys.
Sgt. Gilbert graduated from basic training the week before 9/11; as his mother notes in this article, “then the whole world changed”. I can relate; my youngest son was born that same week.
Rest In Peace, Sgt. Gilbert. Your sacrifice will not be forgotten.
UPDATE 8/15: Also see this Chicago Tribune story from Tuesday 8/14, “Fishing event honors Marine”. From it, we learn that Sgt. Gilbert’s sister is pregnant and will give the baby a middle name of Thomas if a boy, or Macallan if a girl. “Tommy was a connoisseur of Scotch,” his dad explained. Obviously, a wise, wise man, at 24 years young. 😉 There is also this:
Andrew Music, Tommy Gilbert’s best friend, said the two served together in the military in 2003 in Africa, where they were part of a group of friends calling themselves The Fab Five. In 2005, Music and Gilbert decided over a couple of beers at the Gilberts’ basement bar to do another tour of duty.
After a road trip to Key West, Fla., they were deployed to Iraq’s volatile Anbar province. Music was in the same column of vehicles that Gilbert was leading when he died. Music took and wore his best friend’s dog tags the rest of the time he was in Iraq.
“Everything we planned to do, I’m still going to carry on,” said Music, 25. “I know he wouldn’t want me just to shut down and do nothing. He’d want me to carry out the plans we’d made.”
To that end, Music is training to be an emergency medical technician and hopes to work for the Downers Grove Fire Department, where both men hoped to land and where Gilbert’s uncle is a lieutenant. Music and the remaining members of the Fab Five plan to get a tattoo over their ribs commemorating their bond and memorializing Gilbert’s death.