A Big Mistake
They acted as though she had lost her mind. They had been transported far from the station by the elderly woman who appeared to be making up stories.
They made fun of her. As one of the officers saw something, he compelled her to tell him about her son. The officers turned pale as the woman called out the name: they had made a career-ending mistake.
Samantha Morrison had been utterly alone for years, without even receiving a single visit. She had been considering moving out, but she was always put off by how exhausting the process would be.
After all, there was no one who could help her with it. For the last two years, she had been almost completely alone in the world. And that was one of the reasons why, deep down, she didn’t really want to stay in that house.
Samantha had been a widow for ten years. The loss of her husband had been the biggest blow of her life. When he passed away, it was like Samantha’s whole world came crumbling down.
Still, she did all she could to retain hope and maintain her cheerful character. But everything changed when Samantha’s son, Charlie, also disappeared from her life.
From that moment, Samantha entered a deep depression. And to this day, she still couldn’t say she had gotten out of it. She still was mourning the loss of the two people she had loved the most, and she didn’t know if she would ever come to terms with it.
That was one of the reasons why she wanted to move out of the old house. Each and every corner and every piece of furniture brought her treasured yet painful memories of her husband and her son. But that wasn’t all.
A Problematic Neighbor
One particularly annoying neighbor had moved into the house near Samantha’s place just a few months ago. In the beginning, it didn’t particularly bother Samantha.
But shortly after she moved, she started throwing tumultuous, loud parties in her house. To make things worse, her guests sometimes left cans of beer and cigarette butts all over the entrance. Samantha endured the situation the best she could for a while, hoping it would get better eventually. But she was wrong.
One night, one of the parties thrown by Samantha’s neighbor was particularly loud, to the point where Samantha couldn’t even sleep for the whole night.
And in the morning, they were still going. What the heck was going on? Samantha decided to drop by her neighbor’s place and ask her to please turn down the volume of the music. Little did she know that things wouldn’t work out as she would have liked them to.
Samantha prepared herself for the conversation and left the house, hoping the new neighbor would be sympathetic to her request. She knocked on the door and waited.
A few moments later, the girl opened the door, with evident signs of a long night of partying on her expression. She rudely asked the old lady what she wanted. This is how Samantha approached the issue.
“Excuse me. I see you’ve been having a party. That’s alright with me, but could you please turn the music down a little bit? I could barely sleep the whole night. And if you could remove the garbage from the yard and the street too, that would be great.”
“And why would I do that? This is my house. I can do anything I want as long as I’m within its limits,” the girl answered, slurring her words. Samantha was disheartened to hear this response. What could she do?
“Well, in that case, I might have to call the police,” she finally said. “Good, go ahead and do that,” the girl replied, and she closed the door.
After thinking for a bit, Samantha saw that there was only one thing she could do. She returned to the house, picked up the phone, and dialed the number of the nearest police station. She told them about the issue, and they assured her that some officers were on their way. Little did she know that her problems had just started.
The Police Arrived
Soon enough, Samantha heard the police car pulling up. Immediately, the neighbor turned the music down. Then, the old lady was surprised to hear the officers knocking on her door rather than her neighbor’s.
She opened the door, thinking that maybe they just wanted to ask her about the details and make sure she was alright. But that was far from the officer’s intentions. There was something Samantha didn’t know.
Samantha’s neighbor was the daughter of someone important: some big shot in the city’s government; specifically, someone with close ties to the mayor. This, in a way, made her untouchable.
The officers didn’t have any intentions of getting into trouble messing with the daughter of one of the most powerful men in the city. But that wasn’t all. They also tried to persuade Samantha not to ever bring them that issue again.
They Tried To Intimidate Her
So they decided to play along with the neighbor and pretend there wasn’t an issue. “Madam, you complained about one of your neighbors playing their music too loud. We can’t hear anything. I feel like you’re making stuff up.”
“I’m gonna have to ask you not to bother us again with this nonsense, or we’ll have to file a report against you for slander,” the officer said with a sly grin as the elderly woman listened, speechless. She felt tears of impotence coming to her eyes. How could this be happening? But suddenly, one of the officers noticed something.
Hanging on Samantha’s living room wall was a photograph of her son Charlie, wearing his uniform from the Marines. The picture was taken just a few months before he passed away in service while he was stationed in Iraq.
One of the officers saw it, and he instantly turned pale. “Excuse me, Madam. Is that your son? Was he named Charlie Morrison?” Samantha confirmed that he was. Right then, the officer broke down crying.
The Truth Comes Out
As it turned out, that officer had also served in Iraq and had met Samantha’s son during one mission. As a matter of fact, he had saved his life on one occasion. He never heard from him again after that incident, but he could never forget it.
To that day, he was still tormented by the fact that he never had the chance to pay Charlie back for what he had done for him. Thinking that he had been this close to mistreating his mother just to protect the image of some politician’s daughter, he felt sick to his stomach.
They Made A Mistake
So officer Frank Faleski explained everything to Samantha, from his story with Charlie to the reason why they were initially reluctant to intervene against the rude neighbor.
But now, there was no doubt that honoring the marine who had saved his life back in the day was way more important than the reputation of some politician’s daughter. He assured her that they would file a report against the girl, even if that meant putting their jobs on the line.
Trying To Stop Him
Samantha poured coffee for the officers and explained that she had been strongly against Charlie becoming a Marine, but he had enlisted against her wishes.
“I cried for three days trying to convince him not to join. But I lost that fight,” she told them tearfully. All the feelings she’d been bottling up for years came out as she continued to tell them his story.
Everything To Live For
Charlie and his mother had always been close. In fact, they had never spent weeks apart until he joined the Marines. He had graduated high school in 2011 and was based in the Hawaii Marine Corps.
The last time Samantha had spoken to her son on the phone, he had sounded upbeat – perhaps because he had almost completed his tour, or because he had a fiancee waiting for him back home.
About To Start A Family
Charlie was set to head to Japan in a month, return to Hawaii, and then come home for a few weeks. He was ecstatic.
Samantha had helped Jaime, his fiancee, organize the wedding, choose her dress, and get the rings. She couldn’t wait to have her son home again. Everything was ready for his return. But it wasn’t to be.
Living His Dream
“His dream was to be a Marine, and there was nothing I could do about that. I’m proud of him, that he died doing what he loved – protecting his country,” Samantha said.
The tragedy struck in 2013 while Charlie had been stationed in Iraq. Just a year after losing her husband, Samantha received more terrible news.
Samantha had barely been able to cope after her husband died. She felt like a zombie just going through the motions of her life.
Her mother had even come to stay with her to help her get back on her feet. One night, after falling asleep in front of the TV, her mother shook her awake, tears streaming down her face.
Samantha’s mom had seen a news report about a terrible accident in Bagdad. Although not all of the Marines had been identified yet, a sickening feeling hit the pit of Samantha’s stomach.
Her gut feeling her mother’s intuition – she just knew. Charlie had only been 20 years old – he’d barely even begun to live his life.
In the gut-wrenching hours that followed, Samantha and her mom sat in front of the news waiting for the names to roll up on the screen.
The helicopter that had been carrying the servicemen had crashed outside Baghdad during a severe sandstorm. There were six Marines aboard, and the report said none had survived the crash.
How To Go On?
Samantha felt numb when there was a knock on the door. She knew someone was there to deliver the devastating news about her son.
“For five years, I was a basket case,” Samantha said. “I didn’t know how to go on without my son.” All she had left of him were his personal effects, until they had been taken away from her too.
Charlie’s personal effects arrived at Samantha’s home in a box. With his uniform, there was a Purple Heart medal, a memorial flag, a memoria rifle, a Marine Corps Medal, and his ribbons.
Samantha displayed Charlie’s medals on her mantlepiece proudly, even though just looking at them sent her spiraling into tears. Now, they were gone.
A few months before, on the night before Christmas, someone had broken into Samantha’s home and stolen Charlie’s medals.
They had probably wanted to find gifts under her Christmas tree, but Samantha didn’t see the point in celebrating Christmas now that she had no loved ones to spend it with. When she saw they, along with a few pieces of jewelry, were gone, she was devastated.
Another Reason To Leave
“That’s another reason why I want to move out of this house,” Samantha explained to the officers with tears in her eyes.
“I reported the theft to the police, but they didn’t seem too interested in pursuing the case,” she said with a sigh. The one officer couldn’t contain his anger. He couldn’t believe what he was hearing.
“You don’t know what sentimental value there is to jewelry, but when you see medals, you know, medals came with a price,” Officer Faleski said angrily.
“It’s just unconscionable for someone to do that.” Now that he knew what Samantha had been dealing with – the loss of her husband, her son, and the theft of what she had left of him, he knew what he had to do to make it right.
A Debt To Pay
Officer Frank Faleski was determined to help Samantha recover her hero son’s medals. After learning that it was her son who had saved him in Iraq, he knew he had an enormous debt to pay.
He remembered that night all those years ago like it was yesterday. He’d enlisted in the Marines after he completed high school, just like Charlie.
In the first year of his deployment in Iraq, officer Faleski had suffered from two concussions, lost two friends, and watched his marriage fall apart.
He had married his highschool sweetheart before leaving, but she’d left him for another man. His mental health spiraled. He was tired of this life. He wrote letters to his family about his decision so they could understand why the only solution was to end it all. That’s when Charlie had stepped in.
One night, officer Faleski decided it was time. He went up to the fourth level bathroom in the barracks and climbed up the air duct. His plan was to jump from that height.
Charlie had heard the commotion outside and quickly assessed the situation. He immediately noticed that the air duct was slick with rain. He had to act fast.
Saving His Life
Charlie sprinted up the four flights of stairs and kicked the locked bathroom door in. With two other Marines holding him by the legs, he dangled himself upside down out the window and talked officer Faleski down.
Charlie was awarded the Marine Corps medal for demonstrating “poise and resolve” as he kept officer Faleski calm and communicated with the rescue team below. His quick thinking provided time for the fire department to raise their bucket and recover the officer Faleski. If it hadn’t been for Charlie, he wouldn’t be here.