SFC Martin R. Apolinar
December 31, 1982 - May 29, 2011
KIA Wardack Province, Afghanistan
Today marks our first year without you, and we write these words in your memory.
You were many things to many people, Martin. You were an outstanding son, brother, nephew, cousin, uncle, soldier and friend. In July 2008, you became a husband to Elisa and son-in-law to the Briseno family, taking your new bride to live in North Carolina. In 2009, you became a father to Martin Jr. and a father again in 2011 to Gabriel, a son who will never feel your touch or hear your voice - but your sons will know of you, Martin. We will see to it. It would take a book to hold all the stories that have been shared about you by your neighborhood friends, past fellow employees, teachers and friends of the family.
We will tell them of the selection process you went through, of the training and survival courses you endured to become a member of the Special Forces. How on that day in March of 2008, you realized your dream and graduated into the ranks of the Special Forces and became a Green Beret, a proud day for you and your family as well.
You deployed with your new unit in the spring of 2010, this time to Afghanistan. Your military family knew you as "Marty" and that you called yourself "Marty, The One-Man Party." They shared other stories of you, of your courage and your leadership; your smile and laugh they will never forget; and how they were proud to serve with you.
We are thankful for the 28 years we shared with you, for all the memories and love you gave us. We thank you for your service to our country as we thank all the men and women who choose to serve. We will pray for and support all our troops. We will pray for the families whose soldiers returned wounded and scarred both physically and mentally. For the families of the fallen, we will pray that God gives us strength to carry on, because in life we loved you dearly, and in death we do the same. We will carry you in our hearts forever.
We still find it hard to believe you are not with us, Martin, but your mission on Earth is accomplished, and we will carry on with ours knowing you will always be by our side. We know your spirit lives on through your sons, our grandchildren, Martin Jr. and Gabriel.
We will hold on to our memories and remember you fondly.
How could we forget the time you borrowed your younger brother's car to go to work, how Eddie swore it would make it, only to leave you stranded along the busy I-10 freeway in a cloud of smoke and puddle of oil. Or the time you helped your older brother Michael recover your truck from a canal he had driven into after a very merry Christmas party. Or the driving lesson you gave Elisa in your El Camino and, after hitting several curbs, you ended the driving lesson. You told us later she had given you grey hair. Or the April Fools Day prank you helped your mother and I pull on her boss.
We will not write these words as goodbye but, rather, until we meet again. So, until that day, Martin, may you be resting in peace and may God bless your soul.
Mom, Dad, Michael, Eddie, Elisa, Martin Jr. and Gabriel, all your relatives and friends whose lives you touched.
Information provided by survivors.