Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey. Todd Heisler’s Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographic Series

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At the first sight of her husband’s flag-draped casket, Katherine Cathey broke into uncontrollable sobs, finding support in the arms of Major Steve Beck.  When Beck first knocked on her door in Brighton, Colorado, to notify her of her husband’s death, she glared at him, cursed him, and refused to speak to him for more than an hour.  Over the next several days, he helped guide her through the grief.  By the time they reached the tarmac, she wouldn’t let go.

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This photographic series won the 2006 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for Todd Heisler and The Rocky Mountain NewsThe Rocky Mountain News newspaper closed in 2009.

© All rights reserved by Todd Heisler and Rocky Mountain News.

(Click on the images if you wish to view them individually or larger.)

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Minutes after her husband’s casket arrived at the Reno airport, Katherine Cathey fell onto the flag.  When 2nd Lt. James Cathey left for Iraq, he wrote a letter to Katherine that read, in part, “there are no words to describe how much I love you, and will miss you.  I will also promise you one thing:  I will be home.  I have a wife and a new baby to take care of, and you guys are my world.”

 

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The knock at the door begins a ritual steeped in tradition more than two centuries old;  a tradition based on the same tenet:  “Never leave a Marine behind.”  When the wars began in Afghanistan and Iraq, Maj. Steve Beck expected to find himself overseas, in the heat of battle.  He never thought he would be the one arranging funerals for his fallen comrades.

Major Steve Beck and another Marine approach the family home of 2nd Lt. James Cathey, preparing to escort the Catheys to the airport to receive their son’s body.  Five days earlier, the shadows of Casualty Assistance Call Officers followed the same path, carrying the news no military family ever wants to hear.  “I’ll never forget Major Beck’s profile,” said Bob Burns of the night he was notified of his son’s death.  The gold star flag in the window signifies the death of a loved one oversees.

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After arriving at the funeral home, Katherine Cathey pressed her pregnant belly to her husband’s casket, moaning softly.  Two days after she was notified of Jim’s death in Iraq, she found out they would have a boy.  Born on December 23, 2005, he was named James Jeffrey Cathey, Jr.

Since James Cathey was killed in a massive explosion, his body was delicately wrapped in a shroud by military morticians, then his Marine uniform was laid atop his body. Since Katherine Cathey decided not to view her husband’s body, Maj. Steve Beck took her hand, and pressed it down on the uniform. “He’s here,” he said quietly. “Feel right here.”

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The night before the burial of her husband’s body, Katherine Cathey refused to leave the casket, asking to sleep next to his body for the last time. The Marines made a bed for her, tucking in the sheets below the flag. Before she fell asleep, she opened her laptop computer and played songs that reminded her of “Cat,” and one of the Marines asked if she wanted them to continue standing watch as she slept. “I think it would be kind of nice if you kept doing it,” she said. “I think that’s what he would have wanted.”

 

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Related Posts:

Mary McHugh and James Regan: 

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Ty and Renee Ziegel: 

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Timothy Greenfield-Sanders: Soldiers & Dignity:

(Click on the images if you wish to read the posts.)

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146 thoughts on “Katherine Cathey and 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey. Todd Heisler’s Pulitzer Prize Winning Photographic Series

  1. Oh, Onemoreoption, I am crying for young widow Katherine and I so hope Major Steve a full long life and am sending him a psychic embrace. This is something I thought I’d ever do, break into necessary tears while reading a blog post. You are a loving, sensitive soul. G

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  2. Words can not express how deeply moved I am by these pictures, and this story. With each tear that fell, I healed a little bit more.

    RIP Lt. Cathey
    Semper Fi

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  3. The Marines Prayer

    Almighty Father, whose command is over all and whose love never fails, make me aware of Thy
    presence and obedient to Thy will. Keep me true to my best self, guarding me against dishonesty in purpose in deed and helping me to live so that I can face my fellow Marines, my loved ones and Thee without shame or fear. Protect my family. Give me the will to do the work of a Marine and to accept my share of responsibilities with vigor and enthusiasm. Grant me the courage to be proficient in my daily performance. Keep me loyal and faithful to my superiors and to the duties my country and the Marine Corps have entrusted to me. Make me considerate of those committed to my leadership. Help me to wear my uniform with dignity, and let it remind me daily of the traditions which I must uphold.
    If I am inclined to doubt; steady my faith; if I am tempted, make me strong to resist; if I should miss the mark, give me courage to try again. Guide me with the light of truth and grant me wisdom by which I may understand the answer to my prayer. Amen.

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  4. I remember him as a young squad leader in Hawaii -before Iraq. He was a 20 or 21 year old sergeant back then. I remember him saying that he wanted to be the Commadant of the Marine Corps some day. I did not doubt him one bit, because of his accomplishments at such a young age. He was one of the hardest Marines I have ever met.

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  5. I have been mourning for Mrs. Cathey since I saw the picture of her laying beside the coffin of her husband…I even used the picture as my backgound desktop on my computer for quite awhile. I had never been moved so much by a photograph. I wish her and baby son well and I hope in time a return to happiness.

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  6. When I read the article about 2nd Lt. Cathey, Katherine and their unborn son, I became so deeply moved that I could not get the image of her laying next to the flag drapped coffin out of my mind -I still can’t. I could not sleep for weeks after that. I decided to write a poem in tribute to Lt. Cathey and his brave widow who would not leave his side, even in death. After I wrote it, it was like getting a ten ton rock off my chest. I wish there were some way to tell Katherine that I continue to keep her and her family in my prayers and I think about her often. God bless you Katherine and all the families who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom. May God bless the United States Marine Corps – Semper Fidelis. The poem can be found at:

    http://66.220.11.194/visit/viewpoetry.asp?AuthorID=44542&id=189470

    If anyone is interested in reading it.
    With great admiration and love,
    ~Butch Howard

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  7. Not too many days go by that I don’t think about this young woman and her husband. I still say a prayer for her and their child.

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  8. It’s been 2½ years since this families loss, and I just got an email about this story. It’s heart breaking. Being a pregnant military wife, my heart goes out to her and her child.

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  9. I thought I was a tough guy but I was so moved by the picture of the casket under the airliner that I searched until I found this. I went to the Pulitizer site and saw all Todds’ works there also. It started with an email from a friend near Atlanta today. None of us not directly touched by this war can fathom what Katherine feels. God Bless her and her son.

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  10. I have seen many a time in e-mails sent to me, the picture of the flag draped coffin being removed from the airplane. i never new the story behind it. I was curious and looked it up and found the story of Kathrine. I admire her strength and ability to be strong and to be able to do the things that she did. one of the hardest jobs in the military doesn’t even involve the soldiers themselves, it involves being a military wife/spouse. This story is one that i will never forget for as long as i live, it has truly shaken me to the core because war is a sad reality and so is death. I won’t ever forget James J. Cathey for as long as i live. I support our troops and the families that support them, because behind every fallen soldier is a family who lost a hero…

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  11. Wow…

    Lt. Cathey may you rest in peace, you are not just a hero, you are a man, you are a Marine! Semper Fi.

    May the good Lord look down on Katherine, and James Jr. and comfort them as much as can be expected… thank you to all three for your ultimate sacrifice. You are loved.

    God Bless

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  12. Katherine and James Jr. may you find comfort in know that you and your family will always be watched over by the Marines who served with and loved your husand like a brother. Semper Fi

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  13. Dear Katherine and James, Jr.

    Words can never expressed the feelings I have for the sacrifice you both have suffered as well as Lt. Cathey. My heart goes out to you and your family. I am honored to be protected by men such as your husband. Because of him, we all sleep in peace at night. I can only hope one day you will be at peace. You and your son and the memory of your husband will be forever in my prayers.

    May God bless you and your son.

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  14. I’m so sorry for your loss and i want you to know that i pray for you and for all those in your situation. god bless you and your son. and remember he will always be america’s hero and will always be looking over you and your son.
    sincerely chelsea p

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  15. though i am not an american, and though i have not been a friend of the whole iraq thing from the beginning, yet i nevertheless feel sorrow and sympathy for all the young men and women who die for their country. me and my wife, we are deeply moved by this story and by the pictures, words cannot express the pain that we feel with you. i hope that one day you, Katherine, and your child will get along and that pride and life will survive sorrow and tears. God bless you, and – yes, semper fi

    andy

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  16. I think it’s important for people to build online tribute pages for the ones we love, so they can live on forever. I just built a page. It’s a great site. Just thought I’d pass the word in case you wanted to post a free tribute too! God Bless You!

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  17. very touching and very sad. I pray for you and your son and that angels are watching over the both of you. This story was heart wrenching, I couldnt imagine… God bless.

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  18. Wow…this picture brings tears to my eyes.I can’t honestly say that i feel what Mrs. Cathey is going through, but i do know what its like to lose someone you love..im sure everyone does.im so sorry for your loss, i hope that GOD will bless you and your baby boy.I will pray for you and hope that they will be answered.my heart has felt the heaviness of your grief just from this single picture.i hope that one day,when i am an adult that this war,that really has no cause,w will finally come to an end.i send you all my love, and hope that you and James Jr. are in good health.my condolences go out to you and your family.
    Love Always
    Tori

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  19. god damn george w. bush for inflicting this pain on ordinary americans without making sure there was an urgent need to do so. Shame on bush, he has no honor.

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  20. I am so sorry for your loss. I served with the 82nd airborne in the first gulf war and it is not easy losing a friend or a loved one in this way. I am a 39 year old man and I cried like a baby when I saw these pictures. You are a truly strong person with a beautiful baby. God bless you and your family

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  21. KATHERINE,
    JAMES IS FINALLY HOME, AND HE WILL MEET YOU AT THE GATE….IT WAS HIS DESTINED TIME AND HIS WAY TO GO, AND HE WENT PROUD, AND BRAVE….PLEASE READ THE BOOK 90 MINUTES IN HEAVEN….GOD BLESS YOU AND YOUR BABY BOY….YOU STAND FIRM, BE STRONG
    AND HOLD OUT….I LOVE YOU……JO LYNNE
    IN MY FATHER’S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS………

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  22. DEAR KATHERINE,
    NO GREATER A SACRIFICE THAN A MAN TO LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR ANOTHER. BECAUSE OF JAMES AND OTHERS LIKE HIM, FAMILIES WILL PLAY BASEBALL, PICNIC IN PEACE, WALK IN THE FOREST, SWIM AT THE LAKE AND BOW IN HUMBLE RESPECT. JAMES WILL BE OUR HERO, YOUR JAMES AND HIS CHILD’S FATHER. THANK-YOU FOR SHARING AND ALLOWING US TO GRIEF THE LOSS. KATHERINE LOVE TO YOU FROM US AND THOSE WE TOUCH ABOUT THIS STORY AND PICTURES. GOD BE WITH YOU AND YOUR SON. JAMES IS BLESSED BY YOUR KINDNESS.

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  23. if you look, and dont see me… look again.
    i am here.
    if you reach out to touch me… and feel nothing, reach again.
    i am here.
    if you listen, and dont hear me… listen again.
    i am here.
    always beside you, always surrounding you, always filling your soul, with my own.

    i should think these simple words, would be the words the young marine would wish for her to hear. such a terrible loss.

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  24. Mrs. Cathey, I was Lt. Cathey’s radio operator with 1st plt Golf Company. I was there, and not a day goes by where I dont think about what happened. I hope you get this and if you do please write me, I wish i got a chance to meet you and little James back when we had the 2nd Div memorial, but Gunny Caspole said you had trouble with your flight, and all the 1st plt boys were asking permission to find out where you were and pick you up. I dont know why im writing this now, just to some how let you know that he is never forgotten, ever, and neither are you and little James, ever.
    Always,
    Matt

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  25. God bless you and your family. Your sacrifices for our country will never be forgotten. I pray for you to find continued strength in your love, thoughts, memories and prayers.

    Sincerely,

    Theresa Brigner

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  26. Let’s not forget to wish Happy 4Th to all the United States Armed forces fighting for our freedom.

    Same to all the veterans that are here back home. People give to a Homeless veteran. Give what you can put no limit. He or She put no limit in giving everything including their life for us. Let’s do the same for them for those homeless heroes.

    Homeless veterans are proud too… the want a chance not pity.

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  27. Just Finished Jim Sheelers Book, Final Salute. As a guy who rarely cries, I could not hold back the tears. This book is full of heroes and James Cathey is one of them. My deepest sympathies to his family. God Bless.

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  28. This article caught my attention because we share the same last name. There have been so many fallen soldiers, but I feel a certain connection with this family. My heart is heavy, and I truly hope that with time their grief will lighten. God bless both Kathrine and her son.

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  29. Thank you so much for your proof that good people still exist in todays world. Your strength is truly inspirational and your dedication is un-questionable. That of which you have lost will never be forgotton… not by this Marine.

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  30. Mrs. Cathey… with all that is within me, I shall never forget. I return to this sight every few months or so. All humility pales in an attempt to offer my most profound, deepest condolence.

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  31. Mrs. Cathey… I was in Lt. Cathey platoon in Iraq and every year on this same day I think about Lt. Cathey and how great he was. He only wanted the best for us and he will never be forgotten.I want to wish you and your son the best and once again let you know that he is a great man and the sacrifice he made will never be forgotten.
    ALWAYS
    MARK

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  32. My heart goes out to these two soldiers who faught while we relaxed at home. Thank you for fighting for my freedom. May God bless you, and you will be in my prayers daily.

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  33. Dear Mrs. Cathey,I am a direct descendent of the first Cathey families to arrive in Rowan County N.C. I grieve for anyone killed or wounded in the war with Iraq but I am especially touched by your permission to share your tragic loss with me. My heart is with you as a member of the Cathey family. May you find peace with sweet memories as did I as a young widow.

    With much love,
    Mary Lois Hill

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  34. dear mrs. cathey,
    i was in james’ platoon in Hawaii before he was a LT. to this day, i rarely have come across another non-commissioned officer with the likes of him. when i think of all the great men i’ve known and served with, he still comes to mind after all these years. a true gentleman. i never saw him angry. very smart and always a professional. i have no doubt he was a great officer. every once and then when i lose my way i think of him and i look at your photos. i will not let him down. may God bless you and your families. semper fi.

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  35. Semper Fi to another great American hero. God bless you and your son Mrs. Cathey for you are also a hero ..
    John McCarron SMCS
    USN (RET)

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  36. I just finished Final Salute. The story of the Catheys and the others in this book should be required reading for all members of Congres and the White house staff. I had to read the book in small pieces. Had to stop and gather myself before reading on. I think of all the folks in this book every day.

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  37. God bless you and your family, Katherine. I could barely breathe looking at these pictures. I felt love and sorrow at the same time. You are so strong, as was your husband. He will live on through your son. God bless you.

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  38. Katherine,
    I do not know you nor did I know your husband, but I have seen your story many times and I hope you know that even now, your husbands sacrifice and you and your son’s sacrifices are known by many. We pray for you, for your family and I hope you know that the life he gave, is not in vain. Sad that not every American will Thank him and you, but any of us that have served salute him and you and your family for what you have given, and given up. Many fellow veterans like myself still keep you in our prayers and never forget the sacrifices that you and so many have given.
    I will be the first to post in 2009, but I will not be the last to post my gratitude and sympathy for all that was given for my freedom.
    God Bless you, James and your entire family.

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  39. I am sorry that i have not spoken to you in a while. There is not a day that goes by that i dont think about James and all of the fallen Marines from 2/2. I hope all is well and you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers forever.

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  40. Dear Mrs. Cathey,

    I hope you and your child are well. My son Ryan knew Cat at CU Boulder and Jim was a great and positive influence on Ryan. Ryan, a Sergeant now, just re-enlisted with 3rd Recon. I keep Jim’s name on my office wall with my pictures of Ryan. Two more names have been added to my list since August, 2005, of young wonderful Marines like Jim. They too were Ryan’s brothers in the Corps. They, each of them, will never be forgotten.

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  41. I have seen some hard and sad things in my life. Nothing too traumatic though. These pictures alone, especially poor Mrs Cathey, have touched and affected me more than anything I have personally ever witnessed. I literally lost my breathe and my chest aches. I’m at a serious absence of words other than this. My heart goes out to the Cathey family and all other K.I.A. families.

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  42. I literally weeped for you and your child. There seem too few people in this world today with the love, understanding and courage that your family has portrayed. I want to thank you for the sacrific that you and your husband made for my family’s freedom. I do not feel that Thank You is enough-right now, there are no words that could express how this has affected me. Lt. Cathey, you and your son will forever be in my heart.

    God, I pray for this man and his family. I know that he is in Your arms watching over them. Please allow Katherine and her son feel his presence and know that they are not alone. In Your Heavenly name I pray, Amen.

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  43. Some say, if it doesn’t effect me, what do I care.
    I say God Bless 2nd Lt. James J Cathey and Katherine and his son. I also say God Bless every veteran who is here alive and well today, for their fate may have been the same at Lt. Cathey, they all chose to put their lives at risk so we can have freedom of choice in America. May the Lord continue to Bless the Cathey family and all our soldiers. Everything that happens effects all of us. Unfortunately, we may not realize it.

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  44. Mrs. Cathey & James Jr.,

    May you find inner peace, joy and happiness. We mourn those no longer with us, with hopes of reuniting with them one day. That day shall come for you and his son. You shall be together again as one.

    May God continue to bless you and his first born son. I pray for your mental health, as well as your daily safety.

    May 2nd Lt. James J. Cathey’s sacrifices and all the other military comrades’ serve as an example upon us all.

    Katherine you are in my thoughts and prayers.

    Semper Fidelis

    Daughter of a retired Army Soldier

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  45. Mrs. Cathey and little James Jr.,

    As a fellow Nevadan and veteran, I express my deepest, most heartfelt condolences. You have allowed the world to view the agony that so many, thank God, will never know or comprehend. Your husband honored his family, his country and his God. His sacrifice will never be forgotten. My prayers are with you and James Jr. every day. Semper Fi

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  46. These images are so moving and heart wretching I can barely read the captions through the tears in my eyes. God bless these families and give them strength to carry on after suffering the terrible loss of their love ones. A friend sent this to me and when I’m havin a bad day and I start to feel sorry for myself I go to these images to understand what a bad day is really like. “God Bless America and the Men and Women who serve her.”

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  49. These pictures and events really touch me to the bottom of my heart. I wish, i could do something to help them all! Unfortunatelly, i dont have the higher power to do so but God does! I believe in eternal life and these wonderful lovers and family will be reunited some day! I really believe it! God bless you all we we really love you! I am sad though for your grief and we all stand by your side in times of sorrow! Love is much more deeper than life! It will last an eternity until you are all united again! God Speed!

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  50. I can’t get you and you husband off my mind. I could actually feel myself laying there with you and you husband. I wish I could help you….I’ll pray. I’ve been there with an ill child. It doesn’t go away….but it does get a little easier. Love, Prayers, and Thoughts FOREVER.

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  51. I can not put into words the level of respect I have for you… I will pray for you, and your little one. I have second thought re-enlistment in the past, but I will not cower and leave, pretending to be oblivious. I will put my heart and body into making you and him proud, and continue a legacy for which I am truly honored to be a part of. From a greatful Combat Medic.

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  52. This story and pictures were so moving. I received an e-mail today about wearing blue on Friday in support of the troops and saw pictures of Lt. Cathey. I googled it and found these touching pictures. You can feel the love Katherine felt for her husband and i hope that she is doing well with her baby boy. May you feel the love and presence of your husband in his final gift to you…a beautiful son! Keeping you and all military families in my prayers and thoughts.

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  53. The story of this family’s life and sacrifice moved me to tears – again. I pray that the pain and grief has subsided some. Please know that my family along with many others within this grateful nation will always be praying for James, Katherine, and James Jr.

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  54. February 7, 2010
    Received an e mail about “Wearing Blue”….forwarded the article and a friend sent me to a googled site…My pain for Katherine was so REAL as I saw the photo of her sleeping by “The Love of Her LIfe”…the photo and article not only moved me to tears but gave me an inner conviction to spread “The Blue” to show, as a nation, the horrendous pain military families endure and to show, as a nation, our support to all military personnel for their vailient fight so that we can remain a free country. A Sobbering Article!

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  55. Très touché et très attristé par cette photo d une épouse voulant dormir une dérnière fois auprès de son époux.

    toutes mes condoléances aux familles et que le bonheur frappe de nouveau à la porte de Katherine et de leur fils

    Stive

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    Loosely translated from French:

    Very touched and very saddened by this picture of a wife trying to sleep one last time with her husband.

    My condolences to the families and I hope happiness strikes again at the door of Katherine and their son.

    Stive

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  56. Wow….I ….I dont have words for this….my brother an I both former US Marines……I wish there was something I could say….something…I pray that his son knows about his sacrafice his honor, his courage, his commitment his daddy.
    I wish this on no family, and words cannot bring comfort.
    I cant imagine if that was my family. I will keep you in my prayers and add him to the ones I have seen pay the price of freedom. I came accross a tribute to a Marine I read about in Vietnam, and this is what someone wrote. As I sit here and read about this, with pains in my chest, and my eyes welled up with tears and pride, anger, and humility that makes the hair on my neck stand streight I would like to pass this on, cause its the best damn thing about many Marines I have ever heard…….take comfort in this…as a catholic I know….this is not our place….our place is with the lord, and I know the street are guarded by Marines ………my heart goes out to you…and your family
    may God shed light on you and bless you and your family.

    Viet-Nam Veteran 05/11/68 to 06/01/69
    georgehonyara@erols.com
    Fellow MARINE
    Pottsville, Pa – Penn State
    “U.S. MARINE”, – The Title –
    “It cannot be inherited. Nor can it ever be purchased. You and no one alive can buy it for any price. It is impossible to rent and it cannot be lent. You alone and our own have earned it with your sweat, blood and lives. You own it forever, The Title “UNITED STATES MARINE”. Semper Fi!
    Tuesday, December 17, 2002

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  57. Although I am against the war, I’ve never been against the soliders and their families. I was a navy wife for 15 years. However, I can’t imagine having a husband on the ground in direct combat. I somewhat know the worry you felt, but only on a much smaller scale. I do know the ache of missing a husband while he was away, but I can’t imagine the pain of him never returning. Non military families will never fully understand the sacrifice the men and women in uniform and their families are making as we speak. It was so brave of you to share your private life as you went through this. Maybe people can peak into your window just a little and realize the sacrifce so many have made, and will continue to make, during times of war.

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  58. Devil Dawg;

    It is hard to believe that it has been 05 Years. Take care of those 02 “Hollywood Marines” from Afghanistan, headed Your way…….

    Semper Fi,
    “Major Pain”

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  59. I cannot tell you how my heart breaks when I read your story and see the heart wrenching photos. I cannot imagine your pain, your loss. May God bless you and your son — know that you have a guardian angle watching over you.

    May this country get down on their hands and knees and give thanks to those who have given their ultimate sacrifice — their life — for our freedom!

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  60. Keeping you and your family in my prayers.
    I prayer for all military members of all braches and their family.
    Bless you and give you strenth for each day.

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  61. Today is Memorial Day and my tears flow for the ones who died for my freedom in the past and the ones who will pass for my freedom in the future :) May God give you peace in your hearts ♥ And give your family’s peace ♥♥

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  62. I just came across this website and the emotional avalanche which ensued. Besides my heart breaking with/for the young mother and her immeasurable love and grief, I feel guilty for every moment I’ve forgetten to be grateful for the freedom we enjoy at the sacrifice of others. How dare we complain! My dad was a career Marine and my heart swelled with love and pride when we buried him last year. Sympathies can never express the gratitude and honor deserving of this fallen Marine. God bless this woman, her child and all of the men and women who have paid the ultimate price. “Thank you for your service” just does not seem like enough… What can I do to help?

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  63. So sweet the Marines stayed on guard with her..really shows their dedication. Never leave a Marine behind..truth beyond all else. My prayers to Katherine and her little boy, and may your husband rest in peace with all of our other fallen heroes. My cousin is in the Marines and I couldn’t be any more proud. Semper Fi

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  64. THIS IS A CRUEL WORLD WE LIVE IN, WHERE BROTHER HAS TO KILL BROTHER FOR ENERGY , OIL , AND SUCH,
    DECISIONS MADE BY BIG BROTHERS IN GOVERNMENT WHO CALLOUSLY MIGHT BE LINING THEIR POCKETS WITH FINANCIAL GAINS.

    LEAVING POOR GIRLFRIENDS AND WIVES SO DISTRAUGHT WITH SORROW
    I HOPE GOD………… SOOTHES US WITH THE ANSWERS TO THESE THINGS. IF WE ARE WORTHY OF MEETING UP WITH HIM ONE DAY.

    WHAT CAN THAT POOR GIRL DO, OTHER THAN PULLING THE TRIGGER ON HERSELF TO GET OUT OF THAT BLOODY MISERY AND JOIN HER SWEETHEART.
    T

    – – –

    OneMoreOption: I don’t like your assertions and poor reasoning progressions, but I don’t censor comments here. Instead, I’ve stated my objections.

    There are more options to consider.

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  65. James, What a Marine. I knew James since boot camp. We went to SOI together and Hawaii together. We were in the same plt together. I remember him as being the guy that said ” My parents had to sign my contract for me”. All I could do is laugh with him. I remember our deployments to Japan as if it were yesterday. I remember the day he was accept in to MCEP. “CAT” brother you are in my heart and mind everyday. Not a minute goes by of when they told me you were killed. Semper Fi Brother. Keep a watchful guard on the gates of Heaven for us.

    – – –

    OneMoreOption: Thank you for sharing your first person, irreplaceable memories and sentiments.

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  67. I so feel your pain gazing at photos I hope you’re able to move forward with your husband forever in and under your heart. He will be waiting for you and your blessing in heaven I just saw pictures for the first time today and we never forget the engery from you I felt God bless you and your family/frineds Peace!!!

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  68. I’m a combat Marine, and I must say I’m pretty hard core on feelings at times. But I have NEVER cried as hard as when I saw these photos. I still can NOT stop with the tears. I am only glad no one is home, (wife and 2 daughters), to see Daddy balling his eyes out that I can’t stop it. I actually felt every inch of your pain, and could see my wife doing the same exact thing. She would have NEVER left my side at the funeral parlor, and you did the right thing. I am beyond honored to be apart of the same brother hood that your beloved husband was apart of. I hope to one day meet you, and shake your hand. God, you are the PERFECT wife, and your husband must be so proud of what you did. Many Blessings to you and your loved ones during this most trying of times. God Bless sweetie……

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  69. Katherine, I like what Corporal Thomas said. I saw this photo a while back. Struck me as odd first, but I understood completely. True dedication to your Marine, Always Faithful. He must have been looking down smiling saying, “That’s my baby.”. I will say this to be brief, the service & sacrifice of 2nd Lt James J. Cathey while he was alive and unto death is bitter sweetly the bread & butter of freedom as America knows it. There are no words to describe the emotions really. All I can say is that I’m proud to be an American where at least I know I’m free. James, thank you for your service. I will always give thanks to God for the freedom we have in America. I pray God’s spirit comfort the 2nd Lt Cathey’s family as they go on about their lives, and the angels of heaven watch over them, our servicemen & women, & their families, & America.

    Forever in your debt,
    Truly

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  70. And I’m sure all the sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, mothers that WE killed get the same respect? I condemn war in every way and will never have a part of killing another human no matter who or where they are.

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    • quelle courage j ai pleure quand j ai vue le repotage jim tu peux de la haut etre fier de katherine les vrais valeur j ai composer une chanson en hommage a jim le dernier voyage de jim

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  71. I get very emotional every time i see this over the past few years, I have viewed it or been sent it by friends several times. My heart goes out to Katherine as my wife’s name is Kathy and this is how she would also feel in this situation. In Spanish the word tocayo means a person with the same name, so from me to you katherine.
    All my sympathies
    James Cathey
    Nogales, Arizona

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  72. My heart goes out to this family and all the families that have soldiers at war. My son served in Afghanistan for a tour. It is a mother’s worst nightmare. Thankfully he made it home safe! I am so sorry for your loss, and I will continually pray for you. Stay strong for your son.

    sincerely Vanessa B Fluellen
    Sparta, Georgia

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  73. First let me say, My heart truly goes out to you.Raise your son to know his daddy was a hero, which I’m sure you will do. I am also a military spouse and I pray everyday that all of our soldiers will soon return home. Stay strong and God Bless you…….

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  75. katherine I would like to thank you for your husband that gave his life on foreign soil for our country and for me and my families freedom. which come at a high price of your husbands loss of life. your life and your son’s life is forever changed i am saddened by the fact that he will never know his father in a physical manner. only the memories and day to day joys that you share with him when you see something that he does or says that reminds you of james. I wish you all the happiness, love and understanding that you need to make it through 100 life times because you deserve it. May you always go with Gods speed. I will be praying for you always i am so sorry. with all of my families love cindycrews

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  76. I just read this story, Im a Us army captain and I have to said that I’m so proud of this women. Her strength is what make all of us strong. God bless you Katherine and you are a real example that military families stand until the end.

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  77. Dearest Katherine; Your loss is unbearable and heartbreaking to see. However, the courage and strength you exhibit is consoling to all of us sharing your pain and grief from a distance. Words cannot express the love we have for you, your beloved husband and all of our brothers and sisters who’ve given the ultimate price for their country. God Bless you, your son and entire family until you meet your beloved James again. He is a hero and will forever remain in our hearts! I proudly served in the U.S.M.C. during the Vietnam era. Rest in peace Brother!

    Semper Fi

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  78. bonjour de la france a tous les soldats americains je pense souvent a toi jim et a katherine pour son courage les image sont dures proteger vous j ai cree ta chanson jim et pour tous les soldats

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  79. je dedis ma chanson a jim cathey et catherine ( le dernier voyage de jim) et a tous les soldats americains dans le monde pouvez ecouter sur mon site daniel desgautherets wix.com chanson numero 6

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  80. Such a sad story which brought me to tears. I feel you have had more than your share of sorrow. I hope happiness is just around the corner for you and your son. God bless you.

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  81. As im reading this im crying this is so sad yet so sweet at the same time..i seen one of the pics on facebook and i had to google this..i dont even know her and i love her god bless her and there baby boy…..

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  82. Katherine
    My husband is a US Marine – I just have just read your family’s story and am asking myself some important questions. Would I be so strong? Where will I find this kind of strength to move forward and morn my husband with dignity? We say as Marine wives we are willing to tolerate the sacrifices we make and the final one if our husband lays down his life for our country but will we do this willingly? Sometimes I wonder if I am that strong! I love my husband and life without him is not life-but I respect his choices and hope for the best when he is called into combat every time — his training, skills, and luck has brought him home always…I am Loved and Lucky!

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  83. I read your story a few years ago yet when I read it again today i wept harder. I am sure the rest of the world would love to hear from you and your son. Time heals a multitude of sins, I hope it has found you.

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  84. SO HEART BREAKING I AM 75 YEARS OLD AND HAVE NEVER CRIED SO MUCH IN ALL MY LIFE AS I DID WHEN I SAW THESE PHOTO’S AND READ ALL THE STORIES ,I AM NOT AN AMERICAN I LIVE IN SCOTLAND AND SEND MY PRAYERS TO KATHERINE AND HER SON . GOD BLESS THEM AND GOD BLESS AMERICA.

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  85. Thank you for allowing your story to be shared. It is a reminder to all that it is not just the men and women enlisted that serve, but the loved ones of these brave people.
    I am proud of my son-in-law who is career Navy, and my daughter who stays strong. I know well her sacrifices- caring for a newborn when he had to leave after 9/11. I am equally proud of my youngest son, who is in the Navy and currently in school. He has a beautiful girlfriend who waits at home- and she also has the backbone to carry on.
    May you always remember his face and feel his love that continues. May your son grow and know that his father served his country so that all of us could free.

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  86. As many have said before me, God Bless you and your family and may your husband continue to rest in peace. You are such a role model for wives, mothers, and women everywhere and I really hope that you and your son are doing well as the years let on. Of course , I’m sure it never gets easier, but I hope you know there are so many people out here who love you and will support you. It’s unfortunate that we live in a world where these things happen to protect the lives of others, but just want to say thank you to you and your family (esp. your husband) who did so much for the rest of us. Thank you doesn’t seem like nearly enough…please reach out if there is anything we can do to help. Hugs and strength to you and your son, Shilpa

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  87. Sgt Bradley, James D. Marine 1981-1988

    This story made me cry and my prayers are with you. I know it has been a few years and your baby never got to know her father, I will continue to pray for you and your child. PS. I took your story and framed it and posted it at the time clock for all to see. Greenville County Detention Center is praying for you.

    Semper Fi

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  88. What else can I say that hasn’t already been said? This is a story of TRUE love…dedication…and commitment. God bless you and your son. God bless LT Cathey, and I know he is looking down from above with pride and joy. I served in the Marines for 22 years…and have never cried as hard as I did while reading this story and seeing the amazing pictures. I pray that Katherine and her son are doing well and that they have found peace and happiness again.

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  91. Being a Viet-nam Vet I am proud of all who go to war and battle to keep America safe for all who reside here, even for those few who have never done so, and when I meet a military man or woman I tell them so. Its not a pat on the back it is a heart felt given “THANK you!” You are ONE of My hero’s! I want to some how give them what we never got when we came back. We did our duty for God and country. I had a brother in the Army and one in the Navy! I was in the Air Force. Our base was mortored many times and I still recall the day our base was over run by an enemy force that was determined to take us down. At first there were just three of us that had accidently happened upon the enemy and started firing back so as to hopeful hold or keep them at bay, but had it NOT been for the Marine solidiers who seemed suddenly from no where was the only reason we won that battle and returned home. In the Airforce we are not trained as or like a marine soldier, but still I some how used what abilities I had as did the two with me that night. We found out a few days laters we had been fighting against over a thousand enemies and without the assistance of those Marines, well I don’t think we really would have lasted much longer. I became right after that a convoy escort making and taking supplies to some other troops, Army, Navy and of course marines loads of a redish sand gravel mixture to help fill in and raise areas within there camps to stay dry and pitch their tents. They of course told me where to dump the loads I was able to load with a skip loader on the truck and get it there and back again. Its a long story, but I had permission to do so on many a Saturday and Sunday and did so on my own time and was glad to help them in such a simple way. Never failed to amaze me that a load of sand and gravel meant so much even though they sure did appreciate it though.
    So I salute all those who fought and fight for our way of life and One Nation under God as it was meant to be.. So thank you, one and all and Lieutenant you can rest in peace knowing you helped provid so your wife and son can live and be free .

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  92. I don’t know the last time I cried like this-it hurts physically to read the story and look at the pictures . This is utterly, profoundly heart breaking. I cannot imagine what she must have felt. It is the most beautiful, truest testament of love and devotion. Though the words are pathetically inadequate, thank you Mrs. and Lt. Cathey and little James for your sacrifice. This will haunt me forever.

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  93. Thank you Katherine for your sacerfice to this country….You had a remarkable father Little James Cathey Jr. Never let anyone tell you any different. Love to you both this veterans day. God bless you both……

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  94. This is every military wife’s worst nightmare laid out in pictures. My husband is also a Marine and I see all the devastation, disbelief and shock on Katherine’s face that would undoubtedly be on my own if this happened to me and my husband. I cannot even fathom the depth of her pain and I pray that she and her son are doing well today.

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  95. I just had to research this site. That picture of Katherine and her unborn child along with the picture of her by the casket, made my heart bleed. I pray that mankind can find peace soon. America has lost too many young men and I pray that her child gets to grow up in a more peaceful world. May God Bless all the Catheys and America.

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  96. I SAW THE PICTURE ON FB AND TEARS KEPT FLOWING, I LOST MY FIANCÉE IN 2010 TO A CAR ACCIDENT SO I DEFINITELY CAN RELATE, I WISH HER AND HER BABY THE ABSOLUTE BEST MAY GOD WATCH OVER THEM AND HEAL HER BROKEN HEART!!!

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  97. As much as I hate our Government, I can never say harsh words like this for out Military. Sucks, I’m actually kinda tearing up knowing that James Cathey was fighting for our freedom. I will always cherish any man or women who stands up for the weak, even though we seem strong, we will never have the heart and will power that the men and women in our military have. Katherine, not only my love, but everyones’ love in America towards you and anyone else who has lost a loved one fighting for OUR freedom. I can’t imagine the pain and suffering. RIP, stay strong Katherine.

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  99. be it known that we all share your pain in one way or another…..hopefully your son will grow up in a world with less anger and more love thanks in part to his dad, your husband……..we thank him for his service, his sacrifice, and the pain he leaves behind….God Bless you all…
    Billy Goulart
    Gloucester, MA
    US Army 1969-1970/1977-1981

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  101. Im really sorry for your loss. i cant really say i know your pain cuz i dont. but i really appritiate what your husband did for us. Hope you and your son are doing well. I know he will be proud of his daddy. You are a very awesome wife to have stayed by your husbands cascet before he was buried. that was really sweet. made me cry. I will pray for you and your little son for comfort. God is watching out for you and everybody. Dont give up hope.

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  103. Thank you Mrs. Cathey for sharing your most intimate and sad moments with us. Your husband was a hero and you are a role model for military wives everywhere who sacrufuce so much, many of whom suffer the ultimate sacrifice, that is the loss of their husband [or wife]. You and your son are in my prayers. His dad was a hero. I served in the Navy for 30 years as did my husband.

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  104. What poignant pictures. My heart breaks for these young women. Maybe they can take solace in the fact that their husbands were heroes. Time will heal their sorrow and one day they will be able to remember them with a tinge of sadness but more so with loving memories.

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  105. You hear on the news about service men dying in war and it is sad news but I have never really understood the magnitude of those reports when a news anchor say 5 Marines died today…….. Now when I hear those words I immediatly pray for thier families because through these Pictures I understand better the true heartbreak and tragidy of those words DIED TODAY! God bless all military men and women and those that love them!

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