Several years ago, our son, Staff Sgt. Alex A. Ramon III, received the terrible news of the passing of a close Navy friend, Cpl. John C. Flynn. They had previously served together on one of several combat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. Alex was John’s squad leader and the only son of my wife, Drucilla, and me.
With tears in his eyes, our son said slowly, “Dad, you fall asleep seeing horrible things in war, but you never get used to seeing a fellow Marine die.”
Our son was processing the news when he received another phone call. Cape’s family. Flynn was requesting our son’s presence. A Marine was needed to oversee and help the funeral home properly place their son in his blue uniform. Our son left to support his friend’s family.
Arriving in Arkansas, Alex immersed himself in the painful task at hand. At the funeral home, he immediately noticed that John’s shoes for his dress blues were missing. A call to the family asking for the shoes yielded no results. Without burdening the family any further, our son took the initiative and acted quickly to remedy the situation in time for the funeral. Alex then stayed in touch with John’s family and comforted them as best he could.
Two years later, the unimaginable happened: our son died. Alex died on December 6, 2015, of cardiac arrest caused by mixing alcohol with opioids that he had been prescribed to treat post-traumatic stress disorder.