Weekly Column

It was heartbreaking to learn that Corporal Daegan William-Tyeler Page of the United States Marine Corps was among the 13 American servicemembers killed in last month’s terrorist attack in Kabul, Afghanistan.

Corporal Page was just 23 years old. He had parents, step-parents, grandparents, and a girlfriend who loved him. His three younger siblings adored him. To them, his family said, he was more than a hero in the U.S. Marines – he was “their real-life hero,” too.

I was at Eppley Airfield when Corporal Page returned home. As the procession traveled through Omaha, it was inspiring to see the thousands of Americans who lined the streets for his dignified return to our state. This was an incredible outpouring of love and honor for Corporal Page and his family.

And on Friday, September 17, I was able to join Nebraskans in paying our respects at Corporal Page’s funeral, along with several other elected officials from Nebraska and Iowa.

Corporal Page moved to Nebraska when he was five. He enlisted in the Marine Corps not long after graduating from Millard South High School in Omaha, and he cherished the brotherhood he found as a member of the 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. 

He was stationed at Marine Corps Base Camp in Pendleton, California, but over the span of several deployments, he spent time all over the world, including in Japan, Australia, Jordan, South Korea, and Afghanistan. He hoped to attend a Nebraska trade school after finishing his service, possibly to become a lineman.

Corporal Page had a soft spot in his heart for animals of all kinds, but especially for his three dogs. He loved hockey – he played on the state champion club team Omaha Westside, and he was a diehard fan of the Chicago Blackhawks.

He was a member of St. Paul’s Lutheran Church in Millard, and also of Boy Scout Troop 331, where he learned to love the outdoors. Hunting and being outside with his dad, especially on the water, were among his favorite ways to spend his time. He was also an avid skateboarder, amateur photographer, and sketch artist.

The family of Corporal Page has asked Americans to remember him for his “fun-loving spirit, tough outer shell, and giant heart.” We should also remember him as a son of Nebraska who dedicated his life to serving our country and who made the ultimate sacrifice to defend it. 

Corporal Page returned to Omaha on September 10 – only one day shy of the 20th anniversary of 9/11. He was just three years old on September 11, 2001, and his death came at the end of a war that had lasted nearly his entire life.

It is important to remember that Corporal Page was not alone in making the ultimate sacrifice that day in Kabul – 12 other brave American men and women did, too.

Like Corporal Page, these young men and women had their whole lives ahead of them. Like Corporal Page, most of them were probably too young to have any memory of the event that took us to the country where they gave their lives.

Please join me in praying for Corporal Page and his family.