In the span of six days this month, Minnesota lost two of its brightest stars, Vince Flynn and Lt. Col. Mark Weber.

They were in the prime of their lives, Flynn, 47, and Weber, 41, both lost to cancer. They each received their terminal diagnoses in 2010, both were told they had only a short time to live. They each beat the odds for almost three years. They were men whose renown stretched far beyond their hometowns, St. Paul for Flynn, Rosemount for Weber.

Weber had been asked by then Gen. David Petraeus to serve in a leadership position in Afghanistan. His public and courageous battle with cancer is detailed in his best-selling memoir “Tell My Sons”.

Flynn was an international literary superstar who counted among his fans world leaders like President George W. Bush.

In person, both men exuded charm and humility, radiating everyday guy next door personas. They each had movie star good looks, beautiful loving wives and young children. Their willingness to share their struggles not only with cancer, but in Flynn’s case with dyslexia and repeated rejections by publishers of his first book are inspirational. Losing them makes you wonder why some of the bad guys could not have been the ones to go.

Why them, these two men who had so much to offer, so much to share, who were so loved. Their loss is a reminder that greatness can walk in our midst and that the lives we live on this earth are so very brief and so very precious.


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