A True Story: Marine 2nd Lt. James Cathey’s Final Journey Home

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At the first sight of her husband’s flag-draped casket, Katherine Cathey broke into uncontrollable sobs, finding support in the arms of Major Steve Beck.

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When Beck first knocked on her door in Brighton, Colorado, to notify her of her husband’s death, she glared at him, cursed him, and refused to speak to him for more than an hour. Over the next several days, he helped guide her through the grief. By the time they reached the tarmac, she wouldn’t let go.

Minutes after her husband’s casket arrived at the Reno airport, Katherine Cathey fell onto the flag.

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After arriving at the funeral home, Katherine Cathey pressed her pregnant belly to her husband’s casket, moaning softly.

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Two days after she was notified of Jim’s death in Iraq, she found out they would have a boy. Born on December 23, 2005, he was named James Jeffrey Cathey, Jr.

When 2nd Lt. James Cathey left for Iraq, he wrote a letter to Katherine that read, in part,

quote… there are no words to describe how much I love you, and will miss you. I will also promise you one thing: I will be home. I have a wife and a new baby to take care of, and you guys are my world.”

The night before the burial of her husband 2nd Lt. James Cathey of the United States Marine Corps, killed in Iraq, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag.

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Photo Credits: Todd Heisler

Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of “Cat”, and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept.

quoteI think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it” she said. I think that’s what he would have wanted.” Katherine Cathey

Not sure what is more honorable: Being married to this faithful wife to the end or the Marine standing next to the casket watching over them both.

quoteGreater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. 

John 15:13

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Friends, freedom is not free. We owe an incredible debt of gratitude to the families of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
charles lenoir

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