U.S. Army Maj. Brent Taylor was killed in Afghanistan Saturday, during his fourth deployment, in an insider attack.

As Sarah Quinlan wrote Sunday, Taylor leaves behind a widow, Jennie, and seven children. Taylor, 39, was a military intelligence officer and Purple Heart recipient. He also served as mayor of North Ogden, Utah, but had taken a one-year leave of absence from those duties to train commandos for the Afghan Army.

On Sunday Maj. Abdul Rahman Rahmani, a pilot in the Afghan Army who flew alongside Taylor, wrote a condolence letter to Jennie Taylor. He had American colleagues mail the physical letter to her home in Utah, but he also posted it on Twitter with the message:

“Dear Mrs. Taylor, Maj Taylor was my friend. I wrote this letter for his family. I hope this little contribution eases your pain.”

In reading the words of the letter, it’s obvious that Maj. Brent Taylor was an example of the difference that one person can make, how our actions can influence generations to come.

Rahmadi first shared with Jennie Taylor the difference her husband’s example and words had made in his own family.

“He was an inspiring man who loved you all. I remember him saying, ‘Family is not something. It is everything.’ You may or may not be aware of some of our cultural differences, but in Afghanistan family is not everything, for many of us, family are treated as property.

“Let me admit that, before I met Brent, even I did not think that women and men should be treated equally. Your husband taught me to love my wife Hamida as an equal and treat my children as treasured gifts, to be a better father, to be a better husband, and to be a better man.”

Rahmadi noted that he had lost eight family members “in this devastating war brought on to our nation during the last 30 years,” and that he carries physical scars from injuries sustained in battle, but will continue to fight for this “great cause.”

“I gained a great deal of knowledge from him, and I am a better person for having met him….He was a true patriot. He died on our soil, but he died for the success of freedom and democracy in both of our countries. In his last message that I shared on my Twitter, he awakened not only Americans, but the world, to the values of democracy and freedom.”

This is the message Rahmadi referenced:

Freedom: Millions Defy Taliban and Vote in Afghan Elections “The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to…

Posted by Brent Taylor on Sunday, October 28, 2018

The text reads (emphasis mine):

“‘The secret to happiness is freedom… And the secret to freedom is courage.’ – Thucydides
‘In the truest sense, freedom cannot be bestowed; it must be achieved.’ – Franklin D. Roosevelt

“It was beautiful to see over 4 million Afghan men and women brave threats and deadly attacks to vote in Afghanistan’s first parliamentary elections in eight years. The strong turnout, despite the attacks and challenges, was a success for the long-suffering people of Afghanistan and for the cause of human freedom. I am proud of the brave Afghan and US soldiers I serve with. Many American, NATO allies, and Afghan troops have died to make moments like this possible; for example, my dear friend Lieutenant Kefayatullah who was killed fighting the Taliban the day before voting began.

“As the USA gets ready to vote in our own election next week, I hope everyone back home exercises their precious right to vote. And that whether the Republicans or the Democrats win, that we all remember that we have far more as Americans that unites us than divides us. ‘United we stand, divided we fall.’ God Bless America.”

Rahmadi continued:

“Jennie, please pass my words on to your seven children, whom I consider as brothers and sisters to my own five children, Taha, Taiba, Tawab, Aqsa, and Wahab.”

We often consider the children of our close friends as family, but in this context it means so much more. Two men of different faiths, different nationalities, different culture and value systems who could easily have ended up at war with each other forged this type of a bond because both of them viewed each other first as human beings created by the divine (regardless of which religious belief system each adhered to). I am not in any way a pacifist or in denial about the threat western civilization faces due to evil people who use religion as a weapon. But, there were more Brent Taylors and Abdul Ahman Rahmadis in the world, the task of the evil people would be much more difficult.

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Rahmadi wanted to be sure that Jennie Taylor and her children know that, while it was an Afghan trainee who killed their hero, that the killer’s actions were not representative of Afghanis.

When you think about our country…please don’t think that the violent act that took his life is representative of us or our sentiments towards Americans. On behalf of my family and Brent’s friends here in the Special Mission Wing, we pledge to continue to work hard until the end, the day when peace will return to our country and violence and hatred no longer claims the lives of both of our countrymen.”

“I assure you that the one who shot him only represents evil and violence. I pray that God will give you peace, strength, and show you his blessings in this time of great sorrow.”

Jared Pack, Taylor’s brother-in-law, told Buzzfeed News “he saw Rahmani’s letter on Twitter and texted it to Jennie, and that Jennie planned for it to be read aloud during her husband’s funeral.”

Just as Taylor’s kindness and example inspired Rahmani, Rahmani’s letter has inspired others.

Mostafa Hazara’s poem reads:

“One day peace will come

Man will put down his gun

Will pick up a sickle

Instead of bullets He will reap wheat

Instead of political manifestos He will write love letters

Soldiers will return one day

Finally, Newspapers will write about our loneliness.”

Mohammad Yasin Samim wrote, “Thus, there is one border; the border between humanity and terrorism.”

Rahmani was interviewed by Akmal Dawi about his friendship with Taylor, because he “wanted his message to be heard in Afghanistan too.”

At the end of what had to be an incredibly emotional day, Rahmani again tweeted in honor of his friend.

“A true patriot who not only changed my family life when he was alive, but also changed my social life when he is gone and not with us anymore. Today I had a lot of phone calls, a lot of requests, and a lot of followers. Rest in Peace, ‘my brother from another mother,’ in your words.”

What a legacy Brent Taylor leaves, one which has already changed the course of generations of one family and will likely change the course of other families as well. Rest in Peace, Major. You made our world a better place, and we are lessened without your presence.