Knowing that their relationship would be something extraordinary, Heather Means saved every email and letter that Ryan wrote to her since the day they met in the parking lot of a Wrightsville Beach, NC motel.
The Special Forces soldier was often deployed so most of the couple's relationship was captured in writing, leaving behind not just a memoir about the present day war, but a love story of the parents of two special little girls.
Ryan kept a hand written journal in the days and years following the loss of his best friend in the tragedy of 9/11. He documented the process by which he allowed his loss to drive him to greatness. He enlisted in the US Army at age 31, and earned his Green Beret. Ryan signed each email update with Neil Young's hit title "Keep on Rockin' in the Free World," showing the pride he had in his duty to protect our country.
Rockin' in the Free World
"Elizabeth & Sophie Means will thankfully never know the heart break we felt on the day that their father died. But sadly, they will never remember what it felt like to be held in his strong embrace. As their mother, I can only hope that this documentation of his life, as I knew it, will give them some sort of answers and peace in the coming years."
"Ryan left us a handbook by which to live. We are forever grateful to have his words now that we can no longer have his embrace. He was a true American hero and I am honored to tell his story."
- Heather Means