Fiance (L) and Michael Murphy (R)

Michael's Fiancée (L) and Michael Murphy (R)

New York Times: A Personal Salute To a Hero’s Memory 

By Jess Duran

November 18, 2007


 I was stunned with delight when I learned that Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a member of the elite Navy Seals, had been awarded the Medal of Honor by President Bush.

In July 2005, a few days after it was announced that Lieutenant Murphy had died during a firefight in the mountains of Afghanistan, I was working as a reporter for WRNN-TV out of the Manhattan and Long Island bureau. I will never forget the morning I was dispatched to interview Lieutenant Murphy’s parents, Daniel and Maureen, in the Patchogue home where he had grown up.

 It’s the kind of story all reporters are uneasy about, because we go knowing that families don’t always want to talk to the news media — and rightly so. Every family deserves time and space to grieve. But after much thought and extreme sensitivity, Dan and Maureen graciously agreed to share their story.

More than two years have passed since that heartbreaking interview, and yet the memory of Lieutenant Murphy has stayed with me. His parents’ description of Lieutenant Murphy’s zeal for life and his joy to serve left an unbreakable cord. It was the first time I really made a personal connection with a family who had lost a loved one in war.

I’ve covered hundreds of stories over many years, but the wallet-sized photograph Daniel and Maureen Murphy gave me that day of their son in military uniform remains squeezed between the wooden wedges of my dresser’s mirror. I see his face looking straight at mine every day, and in the privacy of my bedroom, I salute him. 


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