The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Local News

January 19, 2013

Lt. Col. Mark Weber's story will live on

Former aide to Petraeus, dying of cancer, father shares his experiences for sons

(Continued)

Leaving life behind

Josh and Noah are too young. They haven't read the book yet, which is fine with Weber. They will consult it when they are ready.

Matthew said that the twins being 12 years old makes it hard to know where their heads are at with everything, but he thinks they're strong and can handle what comes. That goes for him, too.

"It was really hard at first. Now I've come to terms with it, and I can understand the bigger picture in the world. People die all the time," he said. "It does make me sad, and I think about it every once in a while. But I don't dwell on the fact that he's going to die. It's just, "Have this time and enjoy it while we have it.'"

Weber feels the same way. He does have concerns about the boys being able to comprehend losing their father, but he has even more faith that they will be OK.

"I think kids are far more resilient than adults. They don't have any baggage, which means they are capable of more readily adapting to the attitudes of Kris and I on this experience, and they clearly do," he said.

At first, Weber had no desire to go public with all of this.

"But over time I was convinced to take a longer view -- that we are all thirsty for life examples that reflect unyielding hope, fierce determination and inspiration. And there aren't enough of us willing to share that if we experience it," he said. "I wondered what people would get from my story, but having sold 4,000 copies of the book in just one month and hearing the feedback that I have, I no longer hope for what people will learn from it all. I can see and hear what they're learning from it."

At MSU, Weber will share stories from his life and career, which include honors such as the Legion of Merit; Bronze Star; Combat Action Badge; The Mission Continues Annual Compass Award in 2012; 2009 National Officer Recruiting Chief of the Year; 2002 U.S. Army General Douglas MacArthur Leadership Award; and 1994 U.S. Army General George C. Marshall Leadership Award, among others.

He'll talk about the book and its message: Life isn't fair; it's tragic in too many ways. But it's about how you choose to deal with it that counts.

"When it comes to the adversity of life, too many people say "can't" when what they really mean is "don't want to,'" he said.

And he'll talk about which of his life's many achievements mean the most to him. When asked, he's quick and direct with his reply.

"Four of them -- Kris, Matthew, Joshua and Noah," he said. "I know that may sound corny, but I mean it. Nothing has brought me a fuller and more sustainable vigor of the human experience -- the pleasure and the pain and adversity of it -- than the honor of being husband to this woman and father to these three boys."

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