I grew up in a Chabad House. Chabad of Tidewater to be precise. Throughout the years, hundreds upon hundreds of different people have come and gone. Some we remember quite well. For others, it may take a moment. But only a select few are etched in our everlasting memories.
Michael Allen Noeth was born to a Jewish mother and Roman Catholic father. Sometime after, his mother turned Roman Catholic and his father an observant Jew. Michael was a very gifted artist and joined the navy as a painter. His father requested he visit Chabad wherever his military duties lead him. In 1997, it was Naval Station Norfolk in Norfolk, VA. Michael was added to the catalog of people to stroll through our Chabad House doors. Instantly, he became a fan favorite.
Michael was as kind as they get, and – some would say – as interesting as they get! Michael was a Navy man, there’s no mistake about that – he was very proud of who he was. He always tried to rival Tzivos Hashem – the Army of Hashem – with the Navy of Hashem!
We were privileged to share many firsts with Michael. It’s hard to forget the faces he made when he unknowingly gulped down Marror as if it were sugar. Michael learned to chant Kiddush with us. I can still hear him yell “Attention Gentlemen” just before the blessing of Hagofen.
Michael quickly became a part of our family. He once attended a family Simcha decorated in his Dress Whites – gloves, hat and all. Almost every Friday afternoon Michael taxied over for Shabbos, with his Stetson perfectly situated upon his head. The conversation with him was always innocent, interesting and heartfelt. He yearned to know more about his faith. As youngsters, we tried our best. We loved Michael. He related to us. He showed us a good time.
After each deployment and trip abroad, Michael always routed his way back to our home. Seeing him never got old – we loved it. In 2000, after a lengthy mission abroad, Michael was officially re-stationed. This time, he was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in the Nation’s capital. Oh, Washington, DC. wasn’t far. We would see Michael again.
But we didn’t. You see, Micheal’s new post was in the western side of the Pentagon and on the morning of 9/11/2001, he was proudly positioned there.
He was gone. Senseless hate and a cowardly act had taken my friend away from me. My family had lost an honorary member. I was only 17 years old, but still I cried. I wept. I mourned.
It’s eight years later, and I still tear up when I think of Michael Allen Noeth. A gifted artist. A one-of-a-kind. A Proud Jew, enlisted in the Navy of Hashem.
DM2 Michael Allen – Michoel Aron – Noeth USN, truly etched in my everlasting memory.
This article was originally published by CrownHeights.info on September 11, 2009.