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4-year-old son’s tearful goodbye to hero father touches nation’s heart

It was only four days before Christmas, and Sgt. Joseph Lemm’s family awaited his call from Afghanistan, which would of course brighten the holidays for his wife and two children.

But the call never came.

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Tragically, a suicide bomber attacked Lemm’s convoy as it patrolled a village.

Sgt. Joseph Lemm and five other American soldiers died in the attack.

Joseph Lemm was 45.

Joseph Lemm enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and was deployed three times, twice to Afghanistan and once to Iraq.

He grew up in a small Nebraska town, but he wanted to escape the farm life for the city. He loved sports and always wanted to be a police officer and a soldier.

He started his 15-year New York Police Department career at the 48th precinct and was recently promoted to detective.


During his military service, he received numerous commendations. But the hero soldier was highly respected not just in the military but also at home.
In 2006, Joseph was nominated for a New York Post Liberty Medal after he chased down and caught three suspects involved with stabbing a teenager.

His bravery and size – he stood about six-foot-four – earned him his nickname: Superman.

”Joe was more than a hero; he was a superhero, and that’s why he got the nickname Superman”, his former partner, Det. John McCrossen, told CNN.

”He was there for everyone else before himself. That was Joe”, McCrossen said.


Upon news of his death, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, ordered the flags of all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff in honor of Lemm.

Thousands of NYPD officers gathered Wednesday to say goodbye to a friend – a husband, a father and a hero – who was taken too soon.

More than 100 NYPD motorcycles led the procession down Fifth Avenue as the drums beat and the sound of “Taps” filled the air. Lemm received full military honors for his heroism and bravery.

As Detective Joseph Lemm’s flag-draped coffin was carried out of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, his 4-year-old son, Ryan, gave his hero dad a final salute.


The moment was captured in a touching photograph that reminds us the true cost of our nation’s wars – the picture reminiscent of John F. Kennedy Jr. raising the same salute at his father’s funeral.

Joseph left behind a wife, Christine, and a 17-year-old daughter, Brook, who read the hauntingly beautiful Chapter Three verses from the Book of Ecclesiastes, ending with the lines,

“A time to love and a time to hate. A time for war and a time for peace.”

Sergeant Lemm, 45 may be gone, but in his place he leaves a fine young man who will carry on his heroic legacy.
God Bless you little fella, you and you family. Dad was s great man, he served for us,. May he rest in peace !

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