Here is a little bit about Mac's life and legacy: "Growing up with Mac was never boring. Even though he and I fought as siblings do, Mac was there for me and I could sense his protective nature even when we were very little. In middle school and high school, I was known as Mac’s little sister—a title I was beyond proud to carry. Growing up in Mac’s shadow meant people knew who I was because everyone loved and looked up to Mac. As a teenager he was fearless, funny, charming, and adventurous. He did everything as if his hair was on fire and could never sit still for too long because he was just too full of life. He loved baseball and football and I’ll never forget the high school football game where Mac scored the winning touchdown with 13 seconds to go. He was a hero to everyone in the stands that night but he was always a hero in my eyes. He will forever be my cool, rebellious, older brother.
Mac was rarely serious, even (or perhaps especially) when he was supposed to be. I remember at his Army graduation all the soldiers were marching in unison trying hard to keep straight faces and then there was Mac with his rebellious grin, too joyous and proud to be hidden.
For as long as I can remember Mac aspired to be in the military and I can’t describe how proud I still am that he achieved that goal.
His 7 years as a soldier took him to Missouri, Texas, Kuwait, Syria, Iraq, South Korea, and finally Washington. He went to air assault school, went through a grueling 28 day course to become a Sapper, and finally became a sergeant. He made friends who became brothers, many of which will tell you that Mac was someone no one wanted to mess with. He used to say he never started a fight but he always ended them. Okay, maybe he started a few.. But that’s just who Mac was. If he saw someone getting messed with, he’d step in every time. It didn’t matter how big or tough his opponent was, Mac was intense, fearless and perhaps loyal to a fault. He protected everyone around him.
One time he visited me in college and someone made the mistake of disrespecting me in front of him. Well let’s just say, Mac made sure they’d never EVER do that again.
I have always thought of Mac as a fighter in every sense of the word. All of his successes and triumphs are a thousand times more impressive because he fought demons—demons that I guarantee not one of us in this room can fully understand. His struggles with sobriety knocked him down again and again but each time I watched in awe as he got back up stronger.
We all need someone in life to push us through the hard times and for Mac, that was his wife Victoria. They met in Fort Bliss TX where they were both privates in Bravo Company. In true Mac fashion, he annoyed and teased her to show his affection and after being friends for a while, Mac finally charmed her into dating him. Through thick and thin, Mac and Victoria’s love for each other got them through everything. When they married I finally got the sister I always wanted and then we were all blessed with the sweetest baby, their daughter Scarlett. Victoria was Mac’s angel and Scarlett was his purpose.
Mac loved being a father more than anything. You could see it in the quiet, proud manner he would watch her and the protective way he scrutinized any one who wanted to hold her. I can still hear him jokingly saying,“Why are you scaring my daughter??” anytime she would start crying while being held. Being away from her because of his job in the Army was heart wrenching for Mac but at the end of the day he did everything for her.
Before he passed away Mac was enrolled in two English classes, because he wanted to better himself for Scarlett. Even though his wife Victoria and I were often coerced into “helping” him do a lot of homework assignments, he was determined to get through school and eventually enroll in EMT classes. This is what was so incredible about Mac. Despite any obstacles, Mac was always working on himself which is what I admire about him most. For one of his assignments, he was tasked to write about a life changing experience. Mac chose to write about becoming a father, and said this about his daughter coming into the world:
“After about eighteen hours of labor my daughter Scarlett Rae Miller was born. I had never felt so much joy in my life. I was so happy. I had dreamt of this day being a father and starting my family, but as a member of the military I had some fear as well.
Being a father in the military is very difficult. The long hours during a normal work week, months away from home due to training and much more. At the end of the day, we do it for our children, to give them a good life. Time spent away from home makes us grateful when we are together. No one can take away my title as a father and I will always cherish the time spent with my beautiful daughter.”
Mac, I find peace knowing your spirit lives on in your daughter Scarlett, your love persists through your wife Victoria, and your memory will never be forgotten by those who knew you.
According to the Vikings, all brave warriors go to Valhalla, the soldier’s afterlife. Among warriors, both ancient and modern, “Until Valhalla” means, “I am with you until death.” It is said when a soldier dies, as a sign of respect and honor for those who fight.
We love you Mac and we’ll miss you everyday until we meet again. Rest In Peace Macrorie. Until Valhalla, Seargent Miller.
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