I've recently finished back to back Tours of Afghanistan and more recently Iraq... When I get back from a place like Afghanistan or Iraq I always have a whole bunch of stories from the places I've been and people I've met and lived with... stories about our troops... the guys and gals that who put their lives on the line for US everyday... Heroes... Real Heroes... it doesn't matter if believe in the war or you Hate the war... as Americans we always LOVE the WARRIOR... it always take me a while to write this email because I want to take you on the ride with me ... This was my 4th tour to see our troops and when I got home I started to write about my journey ... Now you have to understand when I write something like this having ADD and dyslexia it can take weeks... I was about half way finished with this email when I got an email from a Navy CPT Francis Lukenbill who shared with me what happened to his nephew after I left Iraq.
He was one of those kids who grew watching DDP in his living room when he was growing up maybe ages 5 through 12... like so many kids growing up in the late 90’s he loved the Monday Night Wrestling Wars every Monday and Thursday... So when he saw me in Iraq on his way to mission I must of seemed like a mirage... From what I heard he was more than a little excited to meet DDP... sometimes these guys are so excited meet one of their childhood heroes they will run over one of the beautiful women also on tour to get to them... It’s amazing the impact you can have on someone life... it's something I have never taken for granted... His name was SGT Christopher C. Simpson... When ever I take pictures with anyone I almost always put my right hand straight out in from of me making half my trademarked Diamond Cutter hand sign and get the other person complete the sign... everyone always laughs or at least smiles and has good time with it... I may do that same picture a 100 times in a row and then out of NO Where I go to do the hand sign and I reach up and grab the guys neck in the real Diamond Cutter and everyone POPS BIG TIME... they love it... this will email is the about one of those times... it's so personal to me that after writing the email over and over again I realize that this is the only thing that belongs in this trip to Iraq...
These are the exact emails ... I asked the families if it was OK to let you read and they loved the idea... like so many families they do not want their sons to be forgotten...
Subject: Diamond Dallas Page Fan Killed in the Line of Duty
Dear Diamond Dallas,
My name is Francis Lukenbill, Uncle of SGT Christopher C. Simpson USA. The attached photo is of the two of you during a recent visit you made to Iraq. This is a beautiful picture...one loved by Chris.
Sadly, Christopher was killed in action on Monday 17 March while honorably and willingly serving his country. He and his friend SSGT Mike Elledge were taken swiftly and painlessly as their Humvee was cowardly attacked.
His mother, father, brother, fiancé , and a multitude of relatives and friends are grief stricken by this tragedy. Please accept the family's thanks for giving us the image of the two of you that we laughed over many an hour during the past few weeks.
Remember him and all who serve. Thank you, too, for visiting them in country... Sincerely, (Uncle) Luke
Needless to say this hit me hard…I had to breath through it and then wrote Uncle Luke this note:
Hey bro I just received your email and I can't begin to tell you how sorry I was to read about your loss... it brings tears to my eyes as I am writing this email while flying back home from NY where I did a personal appearance and reffed a match last night... Of course I hit someone with a Diamond Cutter as well... Chris would have loved it...Many people have let me know that they are proud of me for going over to see our boys in Iraq and Afghanistan yet there are others who ask me why I continue to do it... it's to dangerous they say... My response is always the same... I quote Demi Moore from "A Few Good Men" when she is asked the question why do you love the guys so much... her reply ... "Because they are the ones who stand on the wall and risk there lives every day and say... your going to be safe tonight..." I'm not sure if that is the exact quote but it gets the point across...
So many guys come up to me while I was over there (this was my 4 trip over... once to Afghanistan and my 3rd to Iraq) ... they would tell me how they grew up watching me in there living rooms and many have even told me it was like I was part of their family... That's powerful to me... and then they say something like... you just don't know DDP... you just don't know... but I do... I know what it means to these boys to get to hang out with a guy they dreamed of being like...their childhood hero... I do know and it always brings a HUGE smile to my face as I see their faces light up... no matter how burned out I am at the time those guys and gals totally energizes me... that's why when I go over there I try to do more than just shake hands and make them laugh by putting them in the Diamond Cutter like I did to Chris... Btw... I did the Diamond Cutter picture hundreds of times on that last tour and I actually remember taking this picture with Chris... He loved it... I hadn't done it that day till right there and he loved it... The Diamond Cutter move would always come out of no where... so it surprised the boys and made them laugh and remember... it took them out of that shit hole they were living in for just a moment and all of a sudden they were back in there living rooms and DDP just popped through their TV and put a Diamond Cutter on them... when ever I did it like that it was always priceless... and I then I wouldn't do it for awhile unless some asked to have me to put them in the Diamond Cutter...which was always my honor to do... When ever I would get the chance to do a setting where I could actually have the boys sit down and speak to them for about an hour I would talk about my concept of Living Life at 90% ... the formula is (Life is 10% of what happens to you and 90% about how you react to it... then I would do a Q an A with them or even take them through my YRG workout... I really love spending that kind of Quality time with them... but any contact at all is always as morale boosting for them as it is for ME...
I may have been one of Chris's hero but just so you know... he was and is my HERO and I won't forget him... I will put this picture up on my wall in my house... So he's never forgotten... Thank you so much for sending me the picture of him and I together... if it's Ok with you I would like to put this up when I write my next email story about going to Iraq for my Diamond Dallas Page site... I would also like to put the email you wrote me within my email as well if it is all right with you... I think to many people forget who and where these guys are (out of site out of mind) and I believe it's important that they are reminded so they are not forgotten... but you let me know bro... I'll do what ever works for you...
Deepest Sympathy to all your family and friends
D. Dallas Page
His Uncle emails me and then his Mom:
I can not tell you how your awesome note has blessed and touched our family. I called Chris' mom, Kate (my sister) when I saw your note in my in box. I could not wait to share it...she was on the cell phone with Chris' father, Scott, at the same time (kinda two fisting it...). He was equally touched. I immediately forwarded your e-mail to as many family and friends as I could and Kate and Scott are doing the same as we speak. As a friend of mine just said after reading your note, "This is really beautiful...I can't believe how Chris is still affecting people's lives in new and beautiful ways..." How true this is...
Chris' family is totally supportive of your use of the photo and e-mail...anything to help your cause and others in Harms Way. We live in a great country for sure...Chris would want to share...his heart was huge and his love for his fellow man was equally grand.
The fact that you actually remembered Chris is very special...you are family now!
There are many military personnel in our clan and please know that if there is anything we can ever do for you in support of your outreach...you must let me know.
Thank you for your courage and I know I speak for you when I say, thank you, SGT Christopher Curtis Simpson, for yours.
God's Speed to you...
Uncle Luke, Captain, United States Navy
PS. My wife, Joy, quoted Demi More this week as well...you got it perfect!
From: Kate Mclaughlin
Subject: Re: I am so very sorry for your loss... DDP Chris's MOM
Dear Diamond Dallas,
My name is Kate and I am the mother of our Fallen HERO Christopher. I will never forget the phone call that I got shortly after his Diamond Cutter. He said. "Mom you are never going to believe what happened to me" Of course my response “No Chris probably not”. He said Diamond Dallas Page just put me in a Diamond Cutter. I say " Chris who and what is that and he proceeded to tell me.
When I saw the picture that he sent me my heart was filled with joy, I was very excited for him that he got to meet some great people. He touched the lives of many. I thank you for touching his life in the time of need when i was not there. He was a mommy’s boy and called me ever other day if not ever day even being over there. I would continuously tell him how proud I was and how much I love him. Maybe at some point if you are ever in the Hampton VA area I would be happy to share videos. I am going to miss his smile his soft spoken words and the phone calls but I know that someone had a greater mission for him. I thank you again for all you do and continue to do to support our troops. I am honored that that picture will be hanging in your house you were his HERO.
Please use the picture again I am Honored but if you could send me you web page site I would love to see the article. As I told Chris I'm computer illiterate so e-mail is about my speed.
Thanks again for what you do and never hesitate to contact my brother for what ever he will be more then happy to help. He is incredible. He has been military for 25 years and he told me his most difficult but honorable mission was escorting his nephew home. I have a bond with him that will last forever (even closer then siblings) It gave me comfort to know that Chris was with someone he loved and respected very much and Luke talked to him the whole trip. Thanks again for our memory that I will cherish for ever and your picture will to hang in my house.
GOD BLESS THE GOOD GUYS
HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE
Kate Mclaughlin (Chris's Mom)
I had some great times meeting our troops on this tour but felt this email should only be about Chris... another American HERO...
Here is a list of the many bases we visited and met some really great guys who always appreciate DDP and the lovely ladies that I came with Bonnie Jill Laflin (Lakers cheerleader and Scout) Gabrielle Tuite (The Prices Right/Stuff Mag model) Cynthia Watros (Lost/Drew Carrey Show)... pictures on the site...
COP Old Mod
COP Callahan (mall)
Camp Victory (where we stayed)
In this email I will let the 300 pictures I have up on the site tell the story...
YRG 4 Life!