In Memory of Johnny Micheal Spann – March 1, 1969-November 25, 2001


I’ll never forget the day I first heard of Johnny Micheal “Mike” Spann. I was standing in my kitchen, watching non-stop post-9/11 coverage on television. The US had recently invaded Afghanistan, and, like so many other Americans, I expected at any moment to hear the news that Osama bin Laden had been captured.

What I heard instead was that an American CIA agent had been killed in a prison uprising. He was an Alabama boy – a native of Winfield who served in the Marine Corps and graduated from Auburn University. He was survived by a wife and three young children.

His name was Mike Spann, and he was the first American citizen killed in post-9/11 combat. He was only 32 years old.

There is absolutely nothing I can say that would adequately address the heroism of Mike Spann and the other 3,500-plus men and women who have sacrificed their lives during this seemingly endless war on terror.

But what I can do, what all of us can do, on this day when we celebrate the freedom that life in this country affords, is to remember them.

To see the website Mike’s family has created to honor his memory, click here.

In addition, you can read the Congressional resolution passed in his honor, along with a page devoted to American heroes buried at Arlington Cemetery.

If you’re interested in paying tribute to one of our nation’s fallen men or women, you can find more information at Some Gave All.

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  1. Thoughtful post. I actually grew up in Winfield and know Mike’s family. I didn’t really know him, but I knew his two sisters. I’m sure they would appreciate your remembering him today.

  2. I’m from there and remember it all too well. I grew up in Guin, which is about 5 min. from there.

  3. Wow. Thanks for the info on getting involved. Praise the Lord for people willing to fight for my freedom. Happy 4th of July.

  4. There is a great show on either the History Channel, National Geographic, or Discovery Times (my three most DVRed channels, after MTV, that is) called CIA: Stars on the Wall, and he is one of the agents featured in it. It’s an amazing look at some people who gave their all, sometimes without anyone even knowing their names. Thanks for the reminder that today is not just about BBQs and fireworks…it’s about so much more.

  5. Great tribute!
    I remember the day I heard about him. Sadness with pride is a tough emotion for me to digest!

  6. How easy it is to forget these brave men and women who have put their lives in harms way just so people they don’t even know can live in the Land of the Free! Thanks for the reminder.

  7. Thank you for sharing this. I think I was living in my GTech college bubble during some of this, and never captured all of the news.

    Wow…humbling…and thankful.

  8. Thanks for posting this.

    On my blog I was struggling with what to post for the holiday. Everything I started to write sounded too preachy, too liberal or too anti-war. You got the sentiment exactly right.

  9. Wow, he was born the same year as my husband.

    I can’t even imagine the loss that is felt by those who loved him. Such a small number of people have carried the burden of freedom for the rest of us.

    It’s important to take time to stop and reflect on what they’ve done for us, what it means, and what our response should be – what we (as a nation) should do going forward.

    It’s hard for me to make sense of this war, but we have to find some meaning in it for the sake of those who have served and especially those who have lost their lives.

  10. Gail Spann says:

    My name is Gail Spann, mother of CIA Agent Johnny Micheal Spann. Thank you so much for remembering Micheal and so many more that gave their life so we can enjoy this great freedom we have in our country.
    One of your comments said it all “saddess with pride”.

    I haven’t been on your web page before, but plan to enroll. Again thank you for remembering Micheal on this day.

    Gail Spann

  11. What a great and sad post all at once. I love that you honored Mike and made us remember how truly lucky we are. So sad because so many people have lost their lives. I went to his website and looked at the pictures ofhis beautiful family. I think everyone should really look at a soldiers life. I think if they did, more people would care about what is going on in the work and with this war.