After making Warrior Wishes Come True at the Mets game, my dad took his 4th overnight bus in the past 5 days. He arrived in Washington DC early Saturday morning to make Warrior Wishes come true for the 7th straight day. This past week, he has hosted heroes in Cincinnati, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New York (Yankees), Boston, New York (Mets) & over the next 2 days he will be honoring Gold Star families and keeping their loved ones legacies alive thanks to the Nationals.
When we created our Battlefields to Ballfields schedule, we planned to be in DC the final weekend in May because it’s Memorial Day Weekend, which is obviously a very special & emotional weekend for many of our nation’s heroes and their families – especially in DC.
As soon as my dad got in town, he made 2 special stops that have become tradition each year for us during our DC visit. The first stop was Walter Reed Hospital. My dad was able to see a few old friends and meet a few new ones. Thanks to Josh for getting my dad in for the visit.
The second stop – Arlington National Cemetery. Arlington is one of the most powerful places we have ever been, especially during Memorial Day weekend. The cemetery was established during the Civil War on the grounds of Arlington House. Over 400,000 people have been laid to rest at Arlington & its home to the “Tomb of the Unknown Soldier”. The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days per year (see some interesting facts here). Over 4 million people from around the world visit the national cemetary every year, especially during memorial day weekend. As a tribute, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, nicknamed “The Old Guard,” placed American flags in front of the more than 230,000 Soldiers laid to rest in Arlington. Its a place that every American should see. Needless to say, it was extremely crowded and my dad did not get to visit as many heroes as he had planned. He said “It was very special and emotional being there on Memorial Day.”
Today, we had the honor of hosting the Gold Star Family of Army SPC Christopher Horton. SPC Horton made the ultimate sacrifice just 3 months into his first deployment on September 9th, 2011 while serving in Afghanistan (see his Bio below). His widow Jane and his parents, David and Sherie, were our special guests for the day.
My dad met up with the Horton family for dinner at the Gordon Biersch Restaurant near Nationals Park. Located in Southeast Washington, south of the Capitol, along the fast-developing Capitol Riverfront and only one block from Nationals Park, Gordon Biersch is the place to be in the Navy Yard neighborhood. The restaurant provided an inviting space to get to know the Horton Family, learn about Chris & their efforts to better the Gold Star Community.
Jane and her in-laws had a busy afternoon, as she does a lot of work to improve benefits , and the lives, of families that lose loved ones to war. In fact, she did a Fox TV interview right before they arrived today. It was a pleasure getting to know her, her family & more about Christopher. She was also joined by one of her friends who works for a charity here in DC . They educated my dad a little about how DC works, and the efforts they make to enrich the lives of fallen heroes families.
After dinner and giving the family their new Nationals New Era Caps, everyone headed over to Nationals Park for the game. My Dad as he always does, snapped a few photos outside the stadium before making their way inside to incredible seats thanks to the Nationals! Despite 2 Homers by Zimmerman and a 428 foot home run blast by Bryce Harper, the Nationals lost to the Cardinals 9-4. Win or lose, everyone had a great time & enjoyed keeping the legacy of Army SPC Christopher Horton alive.
We want to thank Dave at Gordon Biersch Restaurants for the delicious PreGame meal, New Era for the Nationals Caps, and the Washington Nationals for helping us Make Warrior Wishes come true by providing an awesome Experience at the game!
TOGETHER WE MAKE WARRIOR WISHES COME TRUE!
Thank you to Jane Horton for giving us the opportunity to share your husbands legacy & for all the work you do to improve the lives of Gold Star Families. And of course – and especially on this Memorial Day weekend – THANK YOU to all of those fallen heroes for their ultimate sacrifice and to their families for keeping their legacies alive. My dad will be back in action again tomorrow hosting another family at the Nationals game. Stay tuned for more details.
ARMY SPC CHRISTOPHER DAVID HORTON
Specialist Christopher D. Horton died in Paktia, Afghanistan on September 9, 2011, of wounds suffered when enemy forces attacked using small arms fire. He was 26 years old. Specialist Horton was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 279 Infantry Regiment, 45th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, and Oklahoma National Guard, based out of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Specialist Horton graduated from the Missouri Military Academy in Mexico, Missouri. He enlisted in the Oklahoma Army National Guard in 2008. While serving his time with the Oklahoma National Guard, he became an infantryman, received his SWAT certification, and became sniper qualified. His extensive marksman awards included: The Gus Hadwiger Award in 2009, 1st place Novice Pistol in the Oklahoma National Guard Sergeant Major’s match in 2009, 1st place novice pistol in the Governor’s Twenty Matches in 2009, 2nd place in the Old Fort Shootout in the Unclassified Production Division in 2009, 2nd place Pistol in The State of Oklahoma Governor’s Twenty 2009, Oklahoma State International Defensive Pistol Association’s Champion High Military in both 2008 and 2009, 3rd place in the Carolina Cup Enhanced Service Pistol Sharpshooter in 2008 as well as many others. Specialist Horton was also a professional sponsored shooter through the United States shooting Academy in Owasso, Oklahoma.
In his spare time, he worked on numerous political campaigns including President Bush’s 2004 re-election campaign, Governor Romney’s 2008 Presidential primary. Specialist Horton enjoyed fishing and playing basketball. He leaves behind his wife, Jane Horton, who he met at King’s College in New York City. Specialist Horton also leaves behind a brother, Nicholas, and a sister, Tenley. He was the son of Reverend David and Cherie Bonnema Horton of Tulsa, Oklahoma.
My name is Jane Horton and I am the wife of SPC Christopher Horton, and Army sniper killed in action on September 9, 2011. Christopher put his career on hold as a professional sponsored shooter, business owner, and political consultant to serve his country, and unfortunately he didn’t come home. Chris could have done anything he wanted to do, but he chose one of the most dangerous jobs in the military, and one of the most wanted targets, and was killed because he was hunted for carrying a sniper rife. Christopher loved his country more than anything, and truly believed in the values that America was founded on. He didn’t want to do anything else until he served his country. He felt an honor and duty to protect us on the home front, and join the ranks of the many American patriots that fight for our freedom. Freedom isn’t free, and it was bought with Christopher’s blood.
Chris answered the call to serve his country and was willing to lay down his life. He was truly a fearless patriot, and a valiant warrior. Chris was well known for loving his country and for his incredible shooting skills. He was offered jobs by many government agencies, and told them they could call him back when he was home from Afghanistan, but unfortunately he never came home. As an American Army sniper, he knew that he would be in serious danger, but it honestly never phased him nor did it distract him from his call to duty, and it ultimately cost him his life.