National Guardsman honored after 23 years of service - New York News

National Guardsman honored after 23 years of service

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The country's top military officer came to Minnesota to honor Rosemount soldier who is dying of cancer as he and his wife said goodbye after more than two decades of military service.

It was a special ceremony with a very special guest, and emotions were strong on Thursday as Lt. Col. Mark Weber looked back over 23 years in the Army and the Minnesota National Guard.

Two years ago, Weber was diagnosed with stage four gastrointestinal cancer while he was getting ready to leave for Afghanistan to become an advisor to Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

Weber joked about his impending death at a birthday party for the Army earlier this year, and he sang a heartbreaking duet with his son about a dying civil war soldier called "Tell My Father."

Tears were shed at his end of service ceremony too as he spoke about the sacrifices he, his wife and their three sons have made over the years.

"True strength is about getting things done despite tears and external obstacles," he said.

Although he is leaving his military career behind, this soldier said he plans to keep on fighting until the end.

"My job in the Army as a leader is to provide motivation, purpose and direction," Weber said. "By God, that's what I am going to keep doing."

Visit Lt. Weber on CaringBridge at http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/markmweber

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