Creative Eckert name inspires Distant Cousinz trackWritten by Jordan Finney | | email@example.com
When you think of freedom, baby names don’t often come to mind. But for Army Sgt. Gary “Andy” Eckert and wife Tiffany of Waterville, freedom was a dominating thought when their first child was born 10 years ago.
The baby girl was born during Andy’s first overseas tour. Andy, who was killed in Iraq less than two years later, and Tiffany agreed over the phone to name her Marlee Freedom Eckert.
“They wanted her to always remember that Andy was off fighting for her freedom and for people he’d never met. Because freedom’s never free,” said Scott Fish, lead vocalist for Distant Cousinz.
Fish met the Eckert family after he wrote a song about Marlee’s brother, Myles. When Tiffany told him the story of Marlee’s name, Fish decided to write a military-inspired song in tribute to Andy’s service.
“Daddy’s with you every day, in your heart and in your soul / He fought for Marlee’s Freedom and for people he’d never met / He sought to free them … from a cycle of endless debt / He laid his life down / We should never forget …”
“I usually come up with the title first. Once I have that, the song just flows out of me. ‘Marlee’s Freedom’ was a whisper in my ear,” Fish said.
Fish wrote the majority of the song while sitting on a forklift at work. He would jam out for hours, repeating the lyrics to himself so he wouldn’t forget them.
“I’ll admit that I even called my voicemail on lunch and sang the chorus to myself. I just didn’t want to lose it,” Fish said, laughing. “It was there. We’d have a different song and maybe it’d be good but not as good as this one.”
Tiffany told Toledo Free Press the song used to make Marlee cry, but now her daughter loves it. The 32-year-old widow also said she is as “happy as a pig in mud” for “Marlee’s Freedom” to be part of the “Red, White & You, Too!” charity CD, because the American Red Cross is an organization that “has done so much” for her family.
“For me, I love that, because we are all about giving back,” Tiffany said. “My greatest goal is to continue to give back and the Red Cross has done so much for us. When I had Marlee, Andy wouldn’t have known Marlee was born without the Red Cross. I wouldn’t have been able to get in touch with Andy when he was injured without the Red Cross. When there were family emergencies he would have never known if not for the Red Cross. … The Red Cross has definitely impacted our life.”