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This one is not about law. It’s not about politics. It’s not about anything funny, trite, or cliché. This is a simple note to remember an old friend.

Certain things are unthinkable. The deaths of Sgt. 1st Class Shawn Hannon and his two fellow soldiers (Capt. Nicholas J. Rozanski and Sgt. 1st Class Jeffrey J. Rieck) are one of those unthinkable things.

Shawn worked with us here at Yavitch & Palmer for more years than I can remember. We watched him excel in law school. We waited patiently for his bar exam results (predictable high scores). And we worked together as he grew into his role as an attorney.

Shawn was different than most. He was a natural leader. He didn’t need years of training to develop that quality. He was one of the rare few who came by it naturally. He had a calming voice. He could talk through any problem with anyone—personal or professional. I didn’t know Shawn in the military, but the overwhelming feedback I’m reading doesn’t surprise me. He showed the same qualities with his men.

I can’t think of a deeper, more unthinkable tragedy than this one. These soldiers gave their lives. Imagine the sacrifice. Their families lost their sons, their husbands, their fathers. In modern times it’s easy to hear about such tragedies and quickly say a prayer and be thankful it wasn’t someone we knew. We here at Yavitch & Palmer will never do that again. These are our country’s finest men. These are our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, our family. These are real people, and this requires real reflection.

Shawn is gone. We can’t again hear him describe his newborn son, or talk about his future with his wife and family. But we can remember him and all the others who are gone. We will work through the pain. And, at some point, we will be able to tell the good stories about the good times. That will help. For now, we grieve and pray that this unthinkable tragedy has served some higher purpose.

If nothing else be thankful for the time we have here. Be thankful for the hugs of our parents, family, and love ones. For the sake of this loss, try to live life that much better.

Goodbye Shawn.

Steven E. Palmer

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