Paul and Kathy Gasiewicz of Cheektowaga have heard comments before about how their daughter, Sgt. Cari Anne Gasiewicz, touched the lives of people throughout the country and the world.
So while they had not heard of Doug Gamble, it did not surprise them that the California man and his wife were touched by her death in Iraq on Dec. 4, 2004.
"She was typical of people from Buffalo," Gamble said. "She was a good, decent, generous, wonderful person."
A former writer for Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush, as well as Bob Hope, Gamble wanted to honor his friend.
He decided to pen a song and broadened it to commemorate the military as a whole. The result is "Red, White and Brave," a song that debuted on a Monterey, Calif., radio station on Veterans Day.
Gamble said he wanted to send the message to military men and women that while most Americans go about their daily lives, a group of special people makes sacrifices that make it possible.
"It was very touching," Paul Gasiewicz said after he listened to the song.
Gamble and his wife, Bonnie, met Cari Anne Gasiewicz through a friend and invited them both to Christmas dinner in 2002, he said. Gasiewicz was attending the Defense Language Institute in Monterey before being sent to Iraq.
"She was absolutely outstanding," Gamble said, adding that her devotion to her country and military was inspiring.
Gamble said he struck up an instant rapport with her because he grew up in Hamilton and Toronto, and considered Buffalo his adopted U.S. hometown. News that she had been killed when her convoy was hit by a roadside bomb struck him hard, because she "had an impact on us that went far beyond the length of time we knew her."
So Gamble wrote the lyrics and worked on the music with Monterey-area musician Lee Durley, and they recorded the song. The third verse says it all:
"We reap the fruits of freedom, we're blessed to have this life.
We owe those who protect it, in peace or combat strife.
Never take them for granted, don't miss a chance to say,
Thank you men and women of the Red White and Brave."