""Semper Fidelis" - it means always being faithful to Corps, and to country, and to the memory of fallen comrades like Corporal Jonathan Yale and Lance Corporal Jordan Haerter. These young men enlisted in a time of war, knowing they would face great danger. They came here, to Camp Lejeune, as they trained for their mission. And last April, they were standing guard in Anbar. In an age when suicide is a weapon, they were suddenly faced with an oncoming truck filled with explosives. These two Marines stood their ground. These two Marines opened fire. And these two Marines stopped that truck. When the thousands of pounds of explosives detonated, they had saved fifty Marines and Iraqi police who would have been in the truck's path, but Corporal Yale and Lance Corporal Haerter lost their own lives. Jonathan was 21. Jordan was 19.
In the town where Jordan Haerter was from, a bridge was dedicated in his name. One Marine who traveled to the ceremony said: "We flew here from all over the country to pay tribute to our friend Jordan, who risked his life to save us. We wouldn't be here without him."
America's time in Iraq is filled with stories of men and women like this. Their names are written into bridges and town squares. They are etched into stones at Arlington, and in quiet places of rest across our land. They are spoken in schools and on city blocks. They live on in the memories of those who wear your uniform, in the hearts of those they loved, and in the freedom of the nation they served.
Each American who has served in Iraq has their own story. Each of you has your own story. And that story is now a part of the history of the United States of America - a nation that exists only because free men and women have bled for it from the beaches of Normandy to the deserts of Anbar; from the mountains of Korea to the streets of Kandahar. You teach us that the price of freedom is great. Your sacrifice should challenge all of us - every single American - to ask what we can do to be better citizens.
There will be more danger in the months ahead. We will face new tests and unforeseen trials. But thanks to the sacrifices of those who have served, we have forged hard-earned progress, we are leaving Iraq to its people, and we have begun the work of ending this war.
Thank you, God Bless you, and God Bless the United States of America. Semper Fi."
-President Barack Obama [February 27,2009 Camp Lejeune, NC]
"Jordan Haerter. Life. It begins and it ends, often without a plan. The start and finish are so powerful, yet what lies between is more powerful still. We don't always have control of the beginning and end, but the middle, the living, is ours to claim. Some people live and die and have little to show for it. Some have accomplishments like serving as a volunteer, or teaching kids like lessons in ways no one else could. Not to discount those things, they are remarkable and important, but then there are the people who live heroically. Their births are rejoiced over and their deaths are mourned by many, but their lives were lived to save others. Jordan was one of these men. I don't know much about his short life, but I know that my future husband's life and my own will never be the same because of him. Jordan was the best kind of friend there ever could be to Jeremy, and Jeremy made sure I knew that. He always bragged about Jordan. He would have been in our wedding. But on a much larger scale, Jordan was a Marine. He chose one of the most honorable things he could do with his life. He knew when he signed his contract that he would be going to war, and he wanted to. He wanted to embark on a journey that so many people could never imagine. He chose to see things and do things that there are no words for. Unfortunately his time was cut short. One month into his deployment, he was killed in a bombing. He was the first man in 1st Battalion, 9th Marines to get hurt, although he will not be the last. He knew this was a possibility, but that did not stop him from doing what he knew his mission in life was. The last few moments of Jordan's life were spent saving the lives of dozens of his comrades and even more of the Iraqis he was training to protect their country from the men who attacked him. Right now, we look at his death as what saved so many people, but really it was his life. Every decision he made in his nineteen years lead him to the moment he was posted outside an Iraqi check point watching a truck full of explosives speed towards him. He wanted to be there, and when the time came to do what he had trained so long for, HE DID EVERYTHING RIGHT. Jeremy repeated that over and over on the phone call he made to me. Jordan did his job and he did it perfectly, unfortunately, perfection has a high price. All in all, what I'm trying to say is somewhat cliché, but Jordan’s death did not save many lives, his life did. We will always remember what Jordan did; his memory is etched on my mind forever. He has all my pride and respect. So Jordan, here's to you. Know that you were, and will always be loved by an unfathomable amount of people. I once got a fortune cookie with a slip of paper in it that said, "You will succeed at whatever calling you adopt." Jordan, not only did you adopt an incredibly honorable calling, but you succeeded. One last time, we say good bye, Farewell Jordan." -Beth Giles
"And I must say, although the Marine Corps can help facilitate a young man's character, Jordan was an outstanding guy before he signed any papers. It was who we was, and it was who you had raised him to be. He was an awesome Marine and an even better friend because of where and who he came from. I really truely, honestly mean that." -Jeremy Gabriel
"Thank you for all you have done, for serving our country, and for giving up the most precious gift any of us has. I run a youth group at a local church in Bayville, Nassau County, and we often speak of the value of life, and what we have to live for. Because of your decisions, Jordan, others continue to have that gift. Because you lived, so many are better off. May God Bless You always, and may your family grieve a little less and smile a little more knowing what a difference you made. " -Louis Guerra / St. Gertrude's Youth Group, Bayville, New York
"Your willingness to sacrifice your own life can never be faulted.....you did what you felt was right, because it was right, in your own heart." - Bill Onisko
"All of Sag Harbor, all of your friends, all of your family, all the lives you saved being the hero that you are, and all of the thousands and thousands of people across the nation are better off because of you buddy whether they know it or not. It was a great honor to know such a successful person like you Jordan. So thanks for being a one of a kind stand up guy. We'll Miss You Bro..." -Tyler Horn
"In tough times you were there, doing anything you could to help me get through whatever was going on. As a matter of fact, I often remember the great times we had back in high school, whether it be hanging out at your place, around town with our other buddies, or just chilling talking about how the yanks were the greatest team in the history of baseball. As tragic as your death is, there is no doubt in my mind that you are a true American hero; one who sacrificed his life for the sole purpose of saving the lives of so many other people. That, my friend, is an action that will forever accompany your kind and steadfast character." -Dan DePetris
"When my kids race down Bay Street on their bikes, I will take time to look at our country's flag; I will remind them that Jordan who loved his town and loved his country sacrificed his life so that kids like them could ride their bikes and feel the wind on their face and never have need to look over their shoulders. " - Pam Miller
"I just want to personally thank you for raising such an amazing person. He saved my husbands life, along with everyone else’s life in his PTT team, his death was not in vain but he died a true hero, I am so proud to have known him even if it were a short amount of time." -Stephanie Chapman
"Without men like Jordan there would be no us or U.S. I pray that your grief is is lessened by the faith that when you enter Heaven's Gates you will be greated by your own OUTSTANDING United States Marine. Semper Fi! God Bless." - Michael Behan
"There was a line that wrapped around the Funeral home and down the block.For those unfamiliar with Long Island, Sag Harbor is like a town from Norman Rockwell paintings. The Houses on the same block as the Funeral home (the only funeral home in the town)had Giant American flags hanging on them The Vets were there flying the american flag and standing guard in Front of the Funeral home There was not a dry in the house as person after person went to pay there respects to this young Hero, Much too young to leave this world. His Parents seemed comforted to have Marine family members attend and through their own grief told me that they wanted me to tell my son's to come home safe, that they don't want anyone to go through what they are with Jordan and that they are proud and thankful for their service to our Country. An obviously amazing young man that came from an amazing family." -Darlene
"Many of Jordan's classmates and friends joined together to sing to his memory at the service in Presbyterian Church. The night prior to the service we gathered to practice. I felt so fortunate to be able to spend time with these young men and women-many of whom I had not seen since the days we sang together at Morning Program in the elementary school. The night was solemn but it felt as if Jordan's light was shining through his friends. I was so impressed by their commitment, respect and reverence. With so little notice they came, almost thirty in all, each and every one of them wanting to give the gift of song to Jordan, his family and his community. They arrived early to the church, were gathered together in the vestibule and carrying so many deep and sincere feelings, were ready to share their gift of song. They had grown into such amazing young adults-caring, responsible, and respectful. This night we sang together will stay with me forever. It filled me with great hope for the future. These wonderful young men and women are part of the very fiber of our town and our lives. They are the living expression of amazing parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins. and friends. They are the graduates of our school, they are the light of our future.
At this very sad time I would like to thank the class of 2006-and their friends, for their gift of song. I know that Jordan's light and memory will shine brightly through them-a wonderful tribute to Jordan-Sag Harbor's hero." -Nancy Remkus
"There was another parade for Jordan but without the escort and without the people standing on the sidewalks paying their respect for such an honorable young man.
No, this parade was two Sundays ago, and I never would have seen it had I not been working in my front yard. First came the lead car with a huge basket of flowers visible on the front seat. Then one after the other a line of cars followed driven by young men on a mission.
It was Mother's Day and these young men were doing what young men do every Mother's Day, delivering flowers. But this was different. These boys weren't delivering flowers to their moms, they were delivering flowers to Jordan's mom. I can't tell you how choked up I got when I realized what they were doing. I know as we all do how special friends do special things to special people. The gesture exhibited by these young boys, and the girl who also accompanied them, is a tribute to the kind of caring and sensitive young people we have growing up in this village. We should all be very proud of all of them and how thoughtful they can be. I am." - Jack Youngs
"There's not a day that goes by without a thought or a reminder of memories we all shared. I know that God brought Jesse, Jordan and Jeremy together during those dark SOI days to form a brotherhood unlike the rest. I am so lucky that I got to spend so much time around them and count them as my friends too." -Chelsea
"His loss is unimaginable but he certainly will not be forgotten. Like George Bailey in "It's a Wonderful Life," Jordan unknowingly touched so many people's lives and changed them forever.
He chose to be a Marine in order to protect his country and he wanted to be a Sag Harbor Police Officer in order to protect his village. He succeeded beyond his wildest dreams.
His death has made us all stop and think. Even those of us who did not know him. He has altered the lived of a whole generation.
Jordan is still protecting his country. The Marines he saved will go on protecting others, both military and civilian. The ripples from his actions will continue as each individual he saved touches another life. Jordan's final act was heroic, definitely. But I think with Jordan it was his natural instinct to protect others.
His peers from Sag Harbor, teenagers and college students, are under his protection and will be safer because they will stop and think and remember Jordan before making important choices in their lives. Because of Jordan they will learn to be more responsible and kinder towards other. Nicole's college friends, although unknown to Jordan, will be touched by Nicole's pain. Because of Jordan they will learn to be more compassionate and thoughtful. Us adults will be more appreciative of every day we spend with our children, families and friends. Because of Jordan we will become more loving.
We live in Sag Harbor because we already know what a wonderful life we have here in our close knit village. Because of Jordan our whole village has become more compassionate and thoughtful, more appreciative and responsible, more loving and kinder.
That is how Jordan will forever protect our village and this will be his legacy." -Joanne Robbins
"…so the end is in sight. It’s tough though because I remember how much Jordan talked before we left about how good of a feeling it would be coming home. I will feel guilty getting to experience it without him. And Lejeune and Jacksonville and I-95 will always feel so empty without him there. I have plenty of other close friends to keep me company, but no one can replace the brotherly friendship I had with Jordan. I know he would not let me stay down though, so now I have to use it to keep going. It has helped me figure out how I want to spend my career after the Marines, and given me plenty of drive to get there. I want to keep working in counterterrorism. I want to make him proud, cause I’m overwhelmed with pride that he was my best friend. I'm just not sure I’ll ever be as good of a shot as he was. I remember when he went to the rifle range this past winter to requal, he couldn’t take his truck to those barracks where they were staying in. So when he got off for the day, he would call me and I’d come pick him up and we'd go to taco bell or Jesse’s or whatever. I asked him one of those days how he'd been shooting, and he just laughed not so humbly and shrugged his shoulders. Okay Jordan, why did I even ask?” – Jeremy Gabriel
"Your son is truly an American hero and so very loved by all. Dedicating and naming the bridge in Jordan's honor is so special and so deserving. Your son has certainly made an impression on so many lives...lives that will be forever changed because of his life and who he is. He lives on in our hearts." -Cheryl Greene
"Jordan, I thank you for being such a wonderful friend to my son. I thank you for being the kind of man who would, without a thought, sacrifice yourself for your brothers. I thank you for your patriotism, your humor, your honor, and your kind soul. I thank you for giving your life so that those of us here in the USA can rest easy tonight.
JoAnn and Chris, I thank you for raising a true man. You guided and nurtured a hero, a man who put others before himself. I'm so sorry that Jordan is gone, and I will forever live with a grateful heart that Jordan made the world a better place, through his life and through his sacrifice. I promise you that I will never, EVER forget your son. I will honor him in my heart and through my life for the rest of the time I'm given. May God's peace that passes our human understanding cover you during this time of grief. My family and I are here for you. We love you. " - Lynne Hasman
"Being a parent I could not even begin to imagine the pain and sorrow you must all be feeling, but keep your heads high and chest pushed out because your son is a HERO. I saw the love Christian had for his son in his eyes and seeing that I know the love your entire family had for Jordan. I am writing you to say my entire family is sorry for your loss as well as Thank You. Because of BRAVE MEN like Jordan my children can grow up with out living in fear as the Iraqi children must grow up in. His sacrifice and your families loss will not be forgotten." -Chris, Tara, Mia Rose and Nicholas James Delaney