June 29th. I hate today.
I hate today because of the pain it brings. I hate today because of the loss it makes me feel. I hate today because I know that so many people go through this day gasping for air, waiting for it to end. I hate today, but I am also grateful for today.
On June 29th, 2014, my life changed forever - as did the lives of many that I love. It's the day that I vowed to live every single day for the rest of my life as a day that Philip never got. I can’t tell you how many times I have been sitting around doing some mundane task, watching the clock, and Philip pops into my head.
I think, “If Philip had this opportunity, what would he do with it?”
Suddenly the grass looks greener; the air smells sweeter.
Sometimes I get out my phone and call my mom just to say I love her. Sometimes I find a friend in the office and tell them how grateful I am for them. Sometimes I just step outside, feel the sun on my skin, and appreciate that moment for Phil. To me, that is the best way I can honor Philip's legacy - to treat each moment as a precious gift and to love as much as possible. That's what he did, and I know that's what he would want me to do. In Philip's short life, he left a wake of love and energy so powerful that it will ripple until the end of time. I believe that.
On my first combat mission in Iraq, I flew an American Flag on my jet that I planned to give to Mike and Mary. At the time, we were still pushing ISIS out of the country. I brought the flag because I believed that in some way, Philip's love could help do that. Well, I can't say for sure it was because of that flag, but the battle was won. That flag now sits at the Lutzenkirchen's home, and I credit it with my safety on that mission.
That's just one example (of many) of how Philip's legacy has inspired me, kept me safe and made me a better person. I always wear a seat belt in the car. I always, always make sure my friends and I have a plan to get home when we are drinking. I share his story. More importantly, though, I remember to laugh and not take life too seriously.
Anyone who knew Philip knows that he would absolutely tell us not to cry today. He would tell us to laugh and to smile. He would give us each a giant bear hug and tell us to keep on truckin'.
So please, for the love of God, call someone, hug someone, love someone. Don't let a moment pass before you do it.
Live like Lutz, Love like Lutz, and Learn from Lutz.