WASHINGTON — One of Beau Wise’s dreams came true when the Washington Nationals asked him to throw out the first pitch at Wednesday’s game vs. the Reds. But for Wise, a U.S. Marine Corps combat veteran, this honor comes with a heavy heart.
Wise couldn't help but think of his two brothers, Jeremy and Ben, as he took the mound Wednesday. All three brothers served their country in Afghanistan. Tragically, only Beau returned home.
“Hopefully I can just bring the good memories with me, and I’ll just be thinking about them,” he said.
After the deaths of his brothers, Wise was not allowed to return to combat, as the family’s sole survivor. He is the only American service member to be pulled from the battlefield in Afghanistan.
“I think it was a lot of shock, right off the bat," he said. "It was just kind of an emotional shutdown."
This Memorial Day, Wise is encouraging all of us to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
“It’s no longer just a three-day weekend," Wise said. "It’s a lot more than that to [our] family and to so many others. Hopefully, we can encourage people to just reflect and if nothing else, just thank a veteran. Shake their hand and thank them for all they do for us."
Jeremy Wise was a U.S. Navy Seal and CIA contractor who was killed by an Al Qaeda suicide bomber in 2009. Ben Wise was a U.S. Army Green Beret sniper, who was fatally wounded in a firefight with the Taliban in 2012. Ben was posthumously awarded the Silver Star and Jeremy received the Intelligence Star.
He also has a star on the CIA’s Memorial Wall, which Beau saw for the first time.
“One of the things that Ben and I promised each other is that we would make an effort to go see Jeremy’s star," Beau said. "But Ben never made it, so this will be bittersweet in some ways because Ben and I were supposed to go together."
Wise admits he was in a dark place after losing his two brothers but found healing in writing a book about them, appropriately titled "Three Wise Men." His co-author is Vienna, Virginia native Tom Sileo.
“I think it was a tremendous help to him, and there’s even been service members and veterans coming out of the woodworks saying ‘Hey, I knew your brother, Ben, or I knew your brother, Jeremy and they made a lasting impact on my life,'" Sileo said. "Now Beau is connected with them, and it’s been really amazing to watch that occur in real-time."
“You know if we can help just one brother or sister, it’ll all be worth it,” Beau said.
Beau and Tom hope this Memorial Day, their book will help other gold star families cope while keeping the memories of those killed in action, alive.
“When people make such an effort to go out of their way to remember them and talk about them, it means a lot to me, my mother and my sister," Wise said.
"Three Wise Men" is on sale now wherever books are sold.
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