Y'all may have seen this story in the news, but we're having a memorial for him tonight and I find his story pretty affecting, so I just wanted to share it.
From the memorial:
quote:tonight our hero tribute is in honor of Sergeant Merlin German, USMC. Merlin German entered life in Manhattan, New York City as the youngest of eight kids born to Dominican immigrants. By the time he was a teenager his family moved from the familiar streets of northern Manhattan to suburban Westchester where he attended and graduated High School.
Shortly after he died on April 11 there was a class reunion at Westchester High, and Merlin German dominated the atmosphere as he had always done, but this time instead of the life of the party, he was one of the best memories of their years together. They remembered the first impression of him as a plucky kid from Washington Heights who brightened their lives by bringing some big city style to suburbia. Rather than try to fit in, German flaunted his street roots and became a fashion trend-setter in the High School - as well as an entrepreneur. Realizing that these kids were crazy about the oversized white T-shirts that city kids wore, German raced back to Manhattan, bought up as many shirts as he could, and sold them to his classmates because he knew all the wholesale spots in Manhattan.
German also may go down in the school’s history as the only kid who ever turned a profit at his own prom. While everyone was getting out of their limos Merlin showed up fashionably late with a huge black garbage bag. He had 50 disposable cameras in the bag and sold them all. He was known for his humor, confidence and an oddly endearing touch of arrogance. He didn't have a date for that senior prom, but he said, “It’s okay because I'll dance with someone else's date.” He wasn’t seen alone the rest of the night.
Although he was a born businessman, his first love was the military - even though his mother wouldn't allow toy guns in the house. From age 11 he knew he wanted to be a US Marine, and he fulfilled his dream with distinction. As a Turret Gunner in a Humvee he contributed to 150 successful missions, and spotted 8 IEDs. He couldn’t warn the driver in time to avoid the last one. As a result he suffered burns over 97% of his body, and survived. He then survived three years and over 100 surgeries. German awed his doctors first by surviving, then by making wisecracks during painful procedures. He inspired other wounded warriors as he scooted around the hospital with a grin on his ravaged face and a Yankees cap on his head. He made wisecracks and blared hip-hop music to cheer up the other patients.
At a hospital holiday party in December 2006 he brought the crowd to tears. SGT German put on his Dress Blues, came out and invited his Mom to dance with him. He had often said, “I’m going to look good every day because I don’t know if I’m going to be here tomorrow.”
Not plugging for donations to his website, but it has his story and some nice pics of him - such a good looking kid: Merlin's Miracles It's always nice to remember the people behind the statistics.
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