Monday, October 29, 2007

Megan M. McClung (4/14/72 – 12/6/06)

"It is not length of life, but depth of life." -Ralph Waldo Emerson

My swatch from The Mother's Day Project arrived today in a simple, white envelope postmarked Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Inside was an instructional letter, and a light piece of cream-colored cotton fabric with the name Megan M. McClung heatstamped in black, directly in the center. I didn't quite know how I would feel when I learned the moniker of the woman whose name I would be stitching, but my first reaction upon reading it was "ahhh...she has a good name." I instantly liked the the way it rolled off of my tongue. I liked the fact that her initials were MMM, which, as a graphic designer, I could imagine turning into a beautiful logo. I wondered what the M. in the middle stood for: Mary? Margaret? Marie? And, of course, I wondered who Megan M. McClung was, the life she lived. And so, fifteen minutes ago, I typed her name into Google.

Major Megan M. McClung was the first female officer killed in Iraq. She was a public affairs officer who was escorting Oliver North and a FOX News crew through Ramadi just moments before a roadside bomb took her life. She was 34 years old. But I don't want to dwell on the death of Megan M. McClung, but rather, her life, as Megan seems like someone I would have enjoyed being friends with, had our paths ever crossed. A—unlike myself!—natural redhead, Megan was a spirited soul. Described by those who knew her as having a steel-like constitution, (despite the fact that she weighed in around 100 pounds soaking wet) she was a triathlete who competed in grueling Ironman competitions—running, swimming and bicycling—around the world. Even while in Iraq, this freckled firebrand would run along the Tigris at nightfall, and help organize marathons.

Megan grew up in one of my favorite parts of California—Orange County—but later moved to the state of Washington, where her parents live today. One of the things that has struck me most about Megan is not her accomplishments in school (she received her masters’ degree in criminal justice from Boston University), or her triathalons (six!), or in her military career (she was a hard-working and well-respected), but in her accomplishments as a human being. I've spent the past three hours reading through page after page of posts, letters, articles and blogs written by Megan's friends, family, and colleagues, and I am touched at how in only 34 years, this beautiful, inspiring, and incredibly courageous young woman was able to touch so many lives. And I am thankful that today, she touched mine as well.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Suzanne

Michael E. said...

Meg's middle name was Malia, for her Hawaiian birth. Full middle name was Malia-Lelani.

Meg's Dad

bsalas said...

Please see more of Megan's life and a brief video at

Kerry "Doc" Pardue said...

In memory of Major Megan M. McClung:


Today we remember
A grateful Nation recalls
Our Men and Women
Who paid the price
Of freedom for us all

For those of us who
Served beside them
Every day is Memorial Day
We can't let their memories fade
We were touched by their loss

Their lives touched ours
Changing and helping us
Becoming who we are
Grateful for what we have
Freedom at Home

For those left at home
You gave us your sons and daughters
Husbands and Wives
Fathers and Mothers
Brothers and Sisters
Friends and Lovers
Thank you for sharing them with us

We miss them all
We won't let them be forgot
That is why each of us
Who have been in battle knows
We can never ever forget
That Every Day is Memorial Day

©Copyright May 30, 2004 by Kerry 'Doc' Pardue