Run for the Fallen is today remembering - and honouring - Sgt. John David Rode, 1st Battalion, 12th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division. A hero among heroes. As with all our heroes, John is not only a hero to all of us; he is also the precious son of Cheryl and Tom Rode; beloved nephew to Cat and Eddie Brooks, and most gentle, awesome uncle to the children. John's family graciously shared their stories, their pictures of John, and it is my honour and priviledge to be allowed to share with you, through those who love John the most.
Valentine’s Day is the time of year to let a spouse or significant other know how special they are. For our family, Valentine’s Day 2007 will forever be the day we lost our beloved Sergeant John D. Rode to an IED in Baquba, Iraq. John, a Canadian citizen, was on a recovery mission when he paid the ultimate sacrifice for his adopted country at the young age of twenty-four.
Hailed by his fellow soldiers as a leader and mentor, John could often be found in the gym encouraging his comrades to maintain peak levels of fitness or counseling a young soldier. He was “Uncle John” to Ronnie G. Madore’s two children, who was driving the vehicle during the attack and also lost his life.
John was tough and kept himself in peak physical condition with muscles like rocks. He was the prototypical gung-ho soldier. But he had a compassionate side, knew how to have fun, and enjoyed playing with little kids. One could say that John was a big kid himself off duty, and then changed into a serious, uncompromising professional on the job.
Sergeant Rode was awarded the Purple Heart and the Bronze star. He was awarded US citizenship posthumously the day before his interment at Arlington National Cemetery by the head of the INS and the head of Homeland Security.
Our family will never forget the unselfish acts of kindness John committed as a soldier and as a civilian, and we will always be proud of him for his love of country and commitment to keeping us safe. Godspeed, John.
I am so sorry it has taken so long for me to get back to you...the real reason is every time I sit down to write I have so many memories flooding back and I don’t know where to begin....
As I said, my memories are too numerous to be condensed into a few paragraphs, but I will share two of them with you. Both are wonderful examples of how he lived his life culminating in the ultimate sacrifice he made for those he loved.
After coming back from his first tour of duty in
I asked him one day about one of the most recent suicide bombings that occurred in
On his second deployment to
Let us never forget. Thank YOU for your service, John. My thanks to ALL the Rode and Brooks family for your sacrifice. I will always honour John. Love never dies. Rest easy John, rest easy.