A Xenia native born Sept. 11, 2001 who spent his 20th birthday at Air Force basic training received an outpouring of birthday cards after he was profiled in the Dayton Daily News.
Brooks Lyle’s family delivered about 200 birthday cards and well-wishes to him after he graduated basic in San Antonio.
His father, Mark Lyle, requested in a Dayton Daily News interview that letters be sent to his Xenia home. Mark surprised his son with them when they visited at an Air B&B in Texas for a couple of hours before Brooks started training to become an Air Force medical technician at Fort Sam Houston.
“We sat there as a family and helped him open them,” Mark Lyle said. “It was unimaginable the response and the kindness and the things people said. It was great.”
Mailed items included cards, letters, trinkets, newspaper clippings and gift cards to places like Chipotle.
“God bless you and thank you for wanting to serve and protect our country,” one woman wrote.
“We saw the article regarding your historic birth and your impending graduation from basic training — so congrats and happy birthday,” wrote another. “We need great young people like you to move the world forward.”
Brooks Lyle, interviewed by phone, said it was “awesome” receiving the cards. He was overwhelmed by the response, especially from veterans who shared stories about their service.
“That really touched me,” he said, “just getting to see and read about what other people’s experience was like.”
U.S. Sen. Rob Portman sent a letter wishing Brooks Lyle happy birthday, noting the service of Brooks and his father — an Air Force veteran — and reflecting on sacrifices made the day the young man was born.
“Now, as you follow the footsteps of your father, Mark, in service to our country, you join the next generation of heroic individuals who will work to ensure this great country remains free and safe.”
Brooks said his father’s service was part of his inspiration to join the Air Force, as well as the gravity of what occurred Sept. 11, 2001.
“Being able to share that day with those people who risked their lives, gave their lives to try to save everybody from that day, is kind of a calling for me, a calling to give back in some way to my country,” he said.