Fallen Marine's parents share his legacy and memory
"Whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right. Whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if it is excellent and praiseworthy--think about such things," Susan Schmieman recited her son’s favorite bible verse—Philippians 4:8.
“He always did what was right, and we try to do that too, but he did it with a smile on his face,” said Eric Schmieman, Dietrich’s father.
Dietrich was only 26, but he had already chosen that verse to be read at his funeral service.
“The fact that he had his music chosen, he had his scripture chosen--it's like he knew in some way,” the Schmieman’s said.
Now, Dietrich's parents say they are in awe of the outpouring of love and testaments to their son's compassion and character.
“I was amazed at how many people said Dietrich made me a better person,” Eric said. “And he did that by inspiration and by example--they were going to live life to the fullest every day--because of Dietrich.
Eric and Susan say Dietrich was a fun and mischievous kid and an excellent student at Hanford High.
“He could have done anything, but he chose to serve,” Eric said.
Dietrich joined the marines at 19, and they say he loved every day and worked hard to join the Raider Battalion. They say he knew his team's very heartbeats and treasured his hometown just as much.
“He had a bond just as close to his childhood friends,” Eric said. “He never forgot his childhood friends.”
The morning Dietrich stepped on that fateful plane, Susan says he sent her a message saying, “I love you.”
“The last time I saw him, I held his face in my hands and said, 'remember who you belong to.’ And I prayed with him, and then we walked away,” she said.
On Monday night, the Schmiemans woke up to the terrible news at their doorstep.
“I will never forget those words.”
But even in this tragedy, the Schmiemans say they feel a small sense of peace.
“He was being obedient to God and country, and he put others before himself,” Susan said. “It's going to be different from now on--our home will never be the same.”
But they say they will cherish their lives and time together even more now
“He accepted what comes, and what a way to live---fearlessly.”
Susan and Eric say Dietrich’s military service will most likely be held on 12 August at Einan's, and his ashes will be spread at Mount Rainier, like he requested.