Soldier gives family reminder that he was okay dying after his death in Afghanistan

1 LT Todd Weaver with his wife, Emma, and his daughter Kiley before deploying to Afghanistan in 2009.

Todd Weaver was born in Northern Virginia into a Foreign Service family and lived much of his early life overseas.  He moved back to Hampton, Virginia, where he attended Bruton High School, in the Hampton Roads area.  He was a senior when the attack on America on September 11, 2001, occurred.  It changed him.  He told his parents that day that as soon as he could serve his country, he would do it.  Todd graduated Bruton High School in 2002, began college at James Madison University and joined the National Guard.  He went to Iraq for a 10-month deployment in February 2004.  Todd said that one of his favorite memories of Iraq was the children running up to the convoys and giving a “thumbs up” sign.  He even had a picture of a little Iraqi child wearing his uniform top while saluting.  It was proof of the connection he had.

During Todd’s deployment in Iraq – in 2004 – his father, Donn Weaver, gave him a visit.  Donn Weaver was in Iraq as an advisor teaching intelligence gathering at the time.  Donn was working with the Iraqis in the capital, Bagdad, “trying to support the effort to get them to focus on what had to be done with a regime that none of them had any experience in.”  He convinced the Iraqis that some teaching had to be done in Mosul.  There, an Army officer acquaintance got him to Todd.  The father and son had four hours together that day.  Two months later to the day, a bomb went off in a mess tent in Mosul killing two Army troops.  Todd’s parents thought that Todd was very likely a casualty because they knew that Todd had breakfast in that tent.  But Todd’s safety was verified in a phone call from Weaver’s office in Bagdad to Mosul.

After his return from Iraq, Todd transferred to the College of William and Mary, and in October 2006 he joined the Army.  Todd earned a bachelor’s degree with a major in government and was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society.  While he was there, Todd was well known on campus, a star cadet in the ROTC, and was commissioned into the U.S. Army through William and Mary’s ROTC program in 2008.

Todd served as Battalion Commander during his time with the ROTC, which was a position assigned only to top cadets for excellence in leadership, scholarship, and physical fitness.  His motivation was strong and Todd was determined to excel to further serve his country as best he could.  After commissioning into the Army, he spent additional time with the college’s ROTC as a gold bar recruiter.  Todd’s teachers felt that he had a genuinely brilliant and inquisitive mind and clearly had a bright future ahead of him.  He was the best of the best and a very special man.  They also said Todd was very patriotic, incredibly bright, engaged, full of life, and felt he owed it to his country to serve in the military.

Todd attended the same high school as his wife did but their paths never crossed l because Todd was a star in baseball and football, and he was always the most popular guy.  It would be a few years later when he would decide that Emma was the one for him.  Then at a party before his deployment to Iraq in 2004, Emma was leaving and Todd ran outside, in socks, in the rain, and asked for a kiss.   When he returned on furlough they were together every day.  Wherever Todd was, Emma was with him.  When the deployment was over, they remained together, got married, and became the parents of a daughter named Kiley.  Todd and Emma would dine about twice a week at the Green Leafe Café in Williamsburg.  They would order a few appetizers, eat, laugh, and enjoy each other’s company.  Friends said that Todd had a fun side to him, they got Todd to sing karaoke.

As a 1st Lieutenant, Todd was assigned to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 1st Battalion, 320th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), and arrived at Fort Campbell in April 2009.

On September 9, 2010, while leading a dismounted patrol in Kandahar, Afghanistan, 1st Lt. Todd Weaver and his unit was attacked by insurgents and was struck by an improvised explosive device.  Todd passed away because of the wounds he suffered from that attack by insurgents.

On October 15, 2010, Weaver received full military honors, including a three-volley salute at Arlington National Cemetery.  A lone bugler, standing apart among rows of white marble headstones, blew Taps before the presentation of flags to Weaver’s wife, mother, and father.

The silence that followed was broken by a volley fired over an unseen grave elsewhere in the cemetery, where the 33rd person of the day was being laid to rest.  He joined 168 other servicemen and women killed in the Afghanistan war buried at the cemetery, many who are with him in Section 60.

Emma Weaver, holding daughter Kiley, accepts the flag that draped the casket of her husband Army First Lieutenant Todd Weaver as he is laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery.

Two days after Todd’s burial, Emma was going through Todd’s things and came across his laptop.  What she found was something that she would never have imagined.

On the desktop of his computer was two Word documents. One was titled ‘Dear Emma’ and the other was, ‘Dear Kiley.’

The letter to Emma said:

“Dear Emma:

Well if you are reading this, I guess I did not make it home and therefore, I was not able to remind you again of how much I love you.

I love you so much baby and I will always love you. Although I may not be here right now, take comfort in the fact that I am watching over you right now.

I am not gone and I will always be with you in spirit. I know this time must be hard for you but I also know how strong you are.

Never forget that God knew what was best for us before we were even born. Take comfort in that. This happened for a reason. Although you may not believe it now, you will one day.

I want you to know just how important you are to me. I could not ask for a more caring, beautiful and loving wife. The memories that we have shared over the last few years have been the best of my life. Although it may seem like my life was cut short,

I lived a life that most can only dream of. I married the perfect woman. I have a beautiful daughter that amazed me every day.

I even had two great dogs – at least most of the time. I couldn’t ask for anything more. If you feel sad, just think back to the memories that we shared. Look at our daughter and how beautiful she is.

Be strong for her. Remind her about her Daddy and tell her that I loved her more than anything else in the world. Her birth was the best day of my life and she was the best thing that ever happened to me. Her smile and laughter represent all that is good and beautiful in this world.

Tell her that Daddy is in heaven now and will watch over her and protect her every minute of every day. I love you Emma. But never be afraid to do what you need to do to be happy. It is so important that you continue to find happiness in your life. Although you may think this is impossible right now, have faith.

Much better times are coming. You and Kiley have a wonderful life ahead of you and I am so happy to have shared some of it with you.

I love you.
Your loving Husband,
Todd”

When Emma opened the one addressed to Kiley, it said:

“Dear Kiley, My Sweetie:

Although you may not remember me, I want you to know how very much your Daddy loves you.

I left for Afghanistan when you were 9 months old.

Leaving you was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.

You are so very special to me sweetie – you are truly a gift from God.

The best day of my life was the day you were born.

Every time I saw you smile my heart would just melt.

You were my sweetie – my life was not complete until you were born.

I am so sorry I will not be able to see you grow up.

But remember, your Daddy is not gone. I am in heaven now smiling down on you every day.

You are so very lucky to have such a wonderful Mom to take care of you.

Make sure you are good for her and help her out whenever you can.

Always remember to say your prayers at night and be thankful for all your many blessings.

Never forget how important and special you are to so many people.

We love you so very much. When you get older and start school, do your best and try to learn as much as you can about the world you live in.

Always be nice and caring to others and you will discover that the world will be nice to you.

But when things aren’t going your way, never forget that God knows what is best for you and everything will work out in the end.

You have such a bright and beautiful future ahead of you.

Have fun. Enjoy it. And remember, your Daddy will always be proud of you and will always love you.

You are and will always be my sweetie.

With very much love,
Your Daddy”

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