Soldier's Tribute To Fallen Comrades

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Staff Sergeant Dauphin Williams Jr. said all he wanted to do was honor two of his friends who died while deployed in Afghanistan.

"It's like losing a family member, and I definitely want to honor them and want everyone to remember the sacrifice they gave," Williams told 11 News.

That is why he created a tribute video and posted it on Facebook. But Facebook took it down and sent him a notice that his use of the Boyz II Men song "It's So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday" was an infringement of copyright.

That is when Williams decided to start a Facebook campaign to ask for the group's permission to use the song.

He posted a picture of himself holding a sign that said: "Boyz II Men, Please allow me to honor two of my fallen comrades by allowing me to use your hit "It's so Hard to Say Good-Bye to Yesterday" in a memorial video honoring Ssg Massarelli and Sgt Strachota on Facebook. Respectfully, Ssg Dauphin D. Williams Jr."

The picture was posted on KKTV's Facebook page and quickly went viral, racking up more than 35,000 shares in 24 hours.

Williams told 11 News he turned to social media because he didn't know how else to contact Boyz II Men.

That was Wednesday. Before the day was over, Williams received an email from Boyz II Men founding member Nathan Morris.

The email said, in part, "Sometimes we tend to forget that having the ability to be able to wake up everyday under the protection you guys provide... is a privilege and an honor. And I would be honored to have you use our song in your tribute."

Williams said he also received a call from Morris after the email.

The next day Williams again posted the video and Facebook again took it down. But this time Williams appealed saying he had permission to use the song. A short time later it was back up, encouraging everyone to remember two soldiers who paid the ultimate price.

Staff Sgt. Robert A. Massarelli was 32 years old when he died. He was from Hamilton, Ohio.

Sgt. Michael J. Strachota was 28 years old when he died. He was from White Hall, Ark.

They were assigned to the 96th Transportation Company, 180th Transportation Battalion, 4th Sustainment Brigade, 13th Sustainment Command (Expeditionary), Fort Hood, Texas.

Staff Sergeant Dauphin Williams Jr. is currently stationed at Fort Carson.

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