Brothers Forever: The Enduring Bond between a Marine and a Navy SEAL that Transcended Their Ultimate Sacrifice by Tom Sileo and Colonel Tom Manion is an awesome book about not only the sacrifices that the men and women of our country make fighting our wars, but also the sacrifices their families and other loved ones make as well.
Sileo and Manion chronicle the lives of two young men (Travis Manion and Brendan Looney) who attended the United States Naval Academy together. Although they met each other for the first time at Annapolis, it was clear from their first meeting that they were going to be lifelong friends. Prior to graduation, Manion chose to serve in the Marine Corps and Looney chose to serve in the Navy. Unfortunately, neither of them lived to see the end of the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manion died in Iraq in April, 2007 and Looney died in Afghanistan in September, 2010.
The authors capture the heart-wrenching moments when both men’s families were informed of their deaths. The scene that sticks in my mind the most is when the Manion family was informed. The most moving part is the raw emotion of Janet Manion’s reaction (Travis’ mom) – she broke their front door when initially told – she slammed the door in the faces of the officers who broke the news.
The book does not end with the deaths of Manion and Looney. The authors describe the lives of the two men’s families as they tried to cope with the loss of their sons, brothers, and husband in the case of Brendan. Even years after their deaths, you can still feel the pain of their deaths in the words of their families. I cannot even begin to imagine that kind of heartache.
Toward the end of the book, the authors describe the lasting tribute to Travis and Brendan’s friendship – Travis was disinterred from his resting place in Pennsylvania and joined his friend Brendan at Arlington National Cemetery (they are buried next to each other).
This book is an excellent tribute to our warriors fighting for our freedom and their families.