In His Honor: Fallen Soldier’s Fiancé Joining The Marine Corps
November 12, 2011
As Americans paused and honored those that served on Veterans Day, Madeline Cates was making plans to honor her late fiancé by following in his footsteps into the Marines.
Madeline was to marry LCpl Travis Nelson when he returned from service with the Marines in Afghanistan. She had picked out her dress just before he lost his life serving his country half a world away in August.
“It wasn’t suppose to happen,” Madeline Cates said about the death her soulmate. “He was the love of my life.”
Then Madeline began to think. What if she joined the Marines and finished LCpl Travis Nelson’s tour? She had never, ever in her life considered joining the military.
“Something just drove me to do it; it was driving me crazy. I could not just keep sitting here,” she said. “”I have to do something with my life, and I couldn’t think of a better way to honor him than to follow in his footsteps.”
Madeline Raye Cates, 21, took her oath to the United States Marines recently. She’s due to report to boot camp in Paris Island, South Carolina, on March 5 of next year.
She will be on two missions — the mission assigned by her Marine superiors, and a mission to complete the tour of LCpl. Travis Nelson.
“I want to finish what he started,” Madeline said.
Pictured top: During a ceremony Tuesday to dedicate a Bratt park in the name of LCpl. Travis Nelson, his fiancé Madeline Cates (center) comforts his niece Amber Whitehurst (left) and sister Anna Nelson. Pictured inset: Madeline Cates with the memorial that honors her fiancé LCpl. Travis Nelson. NorthEscambia.com photos, click to enlarge.