Anna Steg, Ben Hines

Anna Steg of Leesburg honors the late Staff Sgt. Ben Hines, who was her fiancé.

On Wednesday the Times-Mirror received an unsolicited email from Leesburg resident Anna Steg.

And we're glad we did.

In the message we learned of Staff Sgt. Ben Hines of the United States Marine Corps. Hines was killed in action in Afghanistan some 13 months ago in a roadside explosion. He and Steg were to be married seven months ago. The two planned to wed at Rust Manor House in Leesburg.

“Ben made the ultimate sacrifice, alongside two of his Marine brothers – Staff Sgt. Christopher Slutman and Sgt. Robby Hendriks,” Steg wrote. “Ben is buried at Arlington National Cemetery, and I am thankful that he is close by and can visit him. He was 31 years old when he was killed and had only a few weeks to go in his deployment before he was set to come home.”

Gives you shivers, doesn't it?

Ben was “always the first person to step up when he knew something was wrong,” and he didn’t need to wear a uniform to be a hero, his sister Meghan Hines recalled.

“After he met Anna, Ben seemed to have a newfound purpose in his life and a happiness and drive to make her proud,” Staff Sgt. Brandyn Colton said in a York (Pennsylvania) Daily Record story. “He found his true life’s calling in love.”

Steg told us the family recently launched The Ben Hines Memorial Foundation to “help carry on his legacy and assist families of our fallen, military and [law enforcement community].” More information can be found on Facebook by searching “Ben Hines Foundation.”

Stories like these are peppered across the nation. They have been for decades now and, unfortunately, they're likely to continue for decades more. They are often sad stories, but they're tales of heroism nonetheless.

Stars and Stripes reports 22 American service members were killed in Afghanistan in 2019, the highest number since NATO combat operations in the country ended at the end of 2014. These were men and women – many with the prime of their life in front of them – breathing their last in hopes of securing our nation's freedom. We should recognize this fact not just this Memorial Day weekend, but every week as we go about our lives largely unfearful of terror or vicious crime.

Thank you to Ben Hines and all who have served and given the ultimate sacrifice.

(9) comments

Justacane45

Rest in peace Brother. Your love shared your story with us. Semper Fi SSGT.

LeesburgD

Thank you for sharing Ben and Anna's story. A reminder to all of us of the heroes in our midst and what is truly important.

workhardgetahead

We must never forget. Ever!!

Pville citizen

Thank you for sharing his story. I will look for him on my next trip to Arlington National Cemetery to visit my Father. ❤️

Peter Leonard-Morgan

Thank you, Ms. Steg, for bringing this important story of an American hero to our attention on Memorial Day. Even though it's been just over a year, it surely must feel like yesterday. We all send our deepest condolences and gratitude for Staff Sgt. Hines and his fellow Marines, and all those who have given all in the service of our country. And of course, for your sacrifice, and that of his family. R.I.P.

amerigirl

Thanks for sharing, thanks for your service, The charity looks very dedicated I hope others join me in giving

Good Guy

Thanks for remInding us all that brave men still serve so we can enjoy our freedoms

Hillsboroharry

Thank you for your service and sacrifice SSG Hines. Thank you for sharing his story Anna.

TCB

Memorial Day is for remembering and honoring all American Patriots -- such as Ben Hines...........thank you for sharing this heartfelt story.

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.