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At the high point of a soaring career in the US Army, Lt. Col. Mark Weber was tapped by General David Petraeus to serve in a high profile job within the Afghan Parliament as a military advisor. Within weeks, a routine physical revealed Stage IV intestinal cancer in the thirty-eight-year-old father of three. Over the next two years he would fight a desperate battle he wasn’t trained for, with his wife and boys as his reluctant but willing fighting force.
When Mark realized that he was not going to survive this final tour of combat, he began to write a letter to his boys, so that as they grew up without him, they would know what his life-and-death story had taught him—about courage and fear, challenge and comfort, words and actions, pride and humility, seriousness and humor, and a never-ending search for new ideas and inspiration.
This book is that letter. And it’s not just for his sons. It’s for everyone who could use the last best advice a dying hero has to offer.
Mark’s letter and his stories illustrate that the greatest value of a life is to spend it for something that lives after it. That in the end you become what you are through the causes to which you attach yourself—and that you’ve made your own along the way. Through his example, he teaches how to live an ordinary life in an extraordinary way.
About the Author
Lieutenant Colonel Mark Weber was born and raised in Minnesota. He has served a total of twenty-three years in the US Army, with five years as an enlisted soldier in the Minnesota National Guard and nineteen years on active duty as a commissioned officer. He has been stationed throughout the US, the Pentagon, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq. He is a distinguished alumnus of Minnesota State University, holds master’s degrees in history from Jacksonville State University in Alabama and public policy management from Georgetown University in Washington D.C., and has served as a Policy Fellow at the University of Minnesota. His awards include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star, and the Combat Action Badge. Mark lives in Rosemount, Minnesota with his wife, Kristin, and their three sons.
David Murray is an award-winning journalist and editor of the magazine Vital Speeches of the Day. He lives in Chicago with his wife, Cristie, and their daughter Scout.
What's Being Said
“Mark Weber’s story has touched me in such a profound way. It’s real, brave, gritty, honest, inspiring— and a gift to us all. Every page exudes courage, honesty, and an indomitable spirit.”
—Mitch Albom, author of international best-selling, Tuesdays with Morrie and The Five People You Meet in Heaven
““Tell My Sons is one of the most profound and inspirational stories I have ever read. It may be written for Mark ’s children, but it may as well be a treatise for all of us about honest parenting and leadership with character in love, family, faith, and politics. For a man who is facing profound health issues, Mark is doing a remarkable job showing us all how to live with courage and integrity.”
—Walter F. Mondale, former Vice President of the United States of America
This book is why I have always been proud to call Mark Weber my son.
His ability to reach across complex boundaries and write and speak with such depth and beauty makes him a modern day Lawrence of Arabia. Mark’s passion, attitude, and thoughts about life are what is best about America.”
—General Babakir S. Zibari, Chief of Defense, Republic of Iraq
“Tell My Sons is a deeply moving, personal account of a soldier’s journey into an ultimate frontier. As I read Mark Weber’s book, I was astonished by its honesty, courage and discipline. This book offers one of the most profound and detailed descriptions of the strange world of cancer and should be essential reading for all of us who seek to understand that topsy-turvy terrain.”
—Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer.
“Lieutenant Colonel Mark Weber has left a proud record of service to his nation, much of which is told in this remarkable book. It is a book not only for Mark’s sons, who can look back on their father’s accomplishments with admiration, but also for anyone who wants to k now what a life dedicated to country and family looks like.”
—Donald Rumsfeld, former US Secretary of Defense