May 31, 2010

Christopher’s Room


My Memorial Day post is a tribute to a fallen hero.

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You are looking at the bedroom of CPL Christopher G Scherer, USMC. CPL Scherer was killed in action in Al Anbar Province, Iraq on July 21, 2007. He was 21 years old.

Christopher Scherer was the son of my good friends, Tim and Janet Scherer, of East Northport, NY.  He enlisted in the Marines immediately after his High School graduation. “It’s the right thing to do,” he told his family.

In dealing with the loss of Chris, the Scherer family quickly discovered that “right thing to do” for them was to start the CPL Christopher G Scherer Semper Fi Fund – Team Chris.

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The primary mission of Team Chris is to provide support to active duty military men and women currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.  To date, they have sent over $60,000 in care packages to our troops, ranging from extra socks, to rifle bags, to sunglasses.  Team Chris’ mission extends to supporting a wide range of local veteran’s causes.

One of their primary fundraising activities is the “I Did The Grid Memorial Road Race,” a 4-mile run through Christopher’s childhood stomping grounds.

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The race is named for Christopher, but is a tribute to all who, like Chris, gave their lives serving the country they loved.  Local Gold Star families are recognized for their sacrifice, and each race participant’s bib carries the names of three servicemen or women who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq or Afghanistan. Sadly, with over 1,000 participants, that’s over 3,000 names – Over 3,000 lost.

Take a close look at the images. Explore Christopher’s room. Imagine its transformation from a child’s bedroom to that of an adolescent, a teen, a young man, a Marine.

Today it sits as a loving tribute to a son and brother who gave his life to defend our freedom. A young man who enlisted because “it’s the right thing to do.”

As you enjoy your Memorial Day holiday please take a moment to remember the sacrifice of Chris Scherer and all of those who made this day—our way of life—possible.

If you are so inclined, please visit cplchris.com to find learn more about the life of CPL Christopher G. Scherer and the mission of Team Chris.

NOTE: I went to Long Island this weekend to run the “I Did The Grid” race and stayed with the Scherer family. When I saw Chris’s room, I knew I wanted to photograph it but was reluctant to ask.

As I was finally getting up the nerve, my friend, Janet, she asked me if I had seen the New York Times Magazine photo spread “The Shrine Down the Hall” taken by Ashley Gilbertson, featuring Christopher’s room. I said, “No … but its funny you should ask …”

So thank you Janet and Tim, for letting me photograph Christopher’s Room. Thank you for allowing me to share the images with my friends.  And thank you for your sacrifice. We are all grateful.

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  1. I was really interested to see this feature after you told me about it the other day and it certainly lived up to my imagination.

    This is a very bittersweet feature and you presented it with care and honor. Thanks to you and especially to the Scherer family for sharing these images with us.

    Always remember.

  2. I’ve seen quite a few Memorial Day posts today and have to say that yours rises above the fomulaic. The images you’ve posted speak to me. I commend Cpl Sherer’s family for seeing beyond their grief to help their son’s comrades. And you for having the vision to see the shots and share them. Thank you and bless them…

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  5. Bob;

    I don’t know how I missed this post when it was originally posted. In any case, I’m finally getting to see this now. Seeing this young Marine’s room like this is very emotional. It really puts a “face” to the all too common news we hear each day about another fallen soldier, a hero, and lest we forget, someone’s child. Very moving tribute, my friend.