Ed Silver
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Ed Silver

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The best kept secret in music


"Local soldier, killed in Iraq, lives on in country song"

By Brandon Moeller, Potpourri Staff Writer

Stephanie Tompkins, Edward Silver and Curtis Tompkins.

Last Christmas, a country singer-songwriter in West Virginia was watching the television news when he saw the story of 23-year-old Tomball resident Michael Taylor, who died Dec. 7, 2005 when an improvised explosive device detonated near his truck in Balad, Iraq.
The aspect of the story that grabbed the attention of performing artist Edward Silver was that Taylor had sent his mother a Christmas card which she received hours before being informed by a uniformed army officer that her son had died in combat.

"I was simply going about my day and saw the story on the news, and it reached out to me," Silver said. "Here it is Christmas time and we have soldiers, like Michael, dying everyday. We are all preparing, shopping and looking forward to the upcoming holiday. How many of us are stopping and being thankful for these men and women and their families who enable us to be home and safe with our families? I felt like no one was paying attention."

Ten minutes after sitting down with his guitar that night, Silver had finished a song called "Letter to the Editor," which is carried by a narrative of a mother writing a letter to the local newspaper to inform them of her son's Christmas gift.

"He gave you future Christmases he could have spent with me," Silver sings during the chorus of the song. "He gave you all his presents, could've been under our tree/ He gave you a gift you can't unwrap on Christmas day/ So to you my friends I have one wish/ You'll remember my son's Christmas Gift."

Silver sent a rough demo of him performing the song solo on an acoustic guitar to Tomball-area resident Stephanie Tompkins, Taylor's mother, and she received it on Christmas Eve last year.

Tompkins and her husband Curtis Tompkins sat down with The Potpourri for an interview about their son a few days after last year's holidays, and a story about his life and those who loved him was published in the Jan. 11 issue of The Potpourri. A year ago, Tompkins told The Potpourri she knew from the beginning she'd be sharing Taylor.

"It was apparent to me after Michael was born that he was going to be a child I was going to share," Tompkins said. "He's a person I shared with my grandmother and many other people. And now I shared him with America. He made his sacrifice willingly and voluntarily for a country and a people he did not know."

This year, she called The Potpourri to discuss the song written by Silver.

"I'm very honored and humbled by the song and happy that Michael will live on through that song," Tompkins told The Potpourri. "Ed's song means to me a warm cloak of comfort which will always be firmly wrapped around my shoulders and tied tightly beneath my chin."

Tompkins said that after she heard the song, she knew Silver had said what she was feeling, yet unable to express for the better part of two weeks.

"In four minutes, my thoughts and feelings had been validated by a perfect stranger, who I now consider my friend," Tomkins said.

Silver's song "Letter to the Editor" can be heard on his Web site, along with a promotional music video which includes a slideshow of photos of Michael Taylor transitioning from childhood to adulthood. The Web site can be found at www.edwardsilver.com.

Silver, who began playing the guitar in middle school and who began writing his own songs when he was 15, said he's written hundreds of songs and will soon begin working on a debut album to be recorded in Nashville. But for now, he said his main focus is promoting "Letter to the Editor" in an effort to spread a message of support to servicemen and women and their families.

"The necessity to get the word out about Michael and his family and the sacrifices of our soldiers took precedence (over recording the album)," Silver said. "So we have focused on the video for the holidays. I want people to pay attention, wake up and be grateful for the soldiers and their families."

Silver said the proceeds from the song - which is sold on Silver's Web site as a DVD video - will be donated to Taylor's family. Stephanie Tompkins said the money will be used to honor all fallen soldiers of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"Any proceeds that I may receive from this video will be used only for the development and construction of a Memorial Garden and Flagpole in our family cemetery, which will be dedicated to all of the Fallen Heroes of Operation Iraqi Freedom," Tompkins said.

E-mail Brandon Moeller at bmoeller@hcnonline.com.
- Houston Community Newspapers

"Congressional Bill for Families who have a Child that has a Terminal Illness"

Singer/Songwriter Ed Silver, known for his video and song “My Name is Julie", inspired by a true story. The song is about a brave young girl who was terminally ill, from West Virginia, who struggles to save her families home because the family can not afford her large amount of medical bills. Unfortunately she passes away. Thankfully Julie’s friends pick up where she left off and continue her cause and save the home from the creditors.

Ed Silver is striving to get a bill passed through Congress. "We pass some stupid bills sometimes in this Country this is something that is very worthwhile", states Ed Silver.
This bill would support the families of terminally ill and/or long-term ill children. Many families fall into the income level range that does not allow them to qualify for medical assistance from the government. These families have too much income to get assistance, yet not enough income to pay the rapidly rising cost of medical treatment their child must receive. With the state of our insurance system many families like this don't have any or have very limited coverage. As well many families have one parent who has to not work in order to be with the child for the many treatments and many long term stays in the hospital. The other parent can't work as much and usually travels from work right to the hospital. Ask yourself if your child were terminally ill and going through these treatments, usually at a hospital far from home, if you would not be there with your child all the time. In many of these cases, the families have to give up their home because they can't afford the home and pay these huge medical bills. If this bill was passed and you fell into these income levels, you would obtain a letter from your child's physician. This letter would state your child is terminally and/or long-term ill. You would then present it to these creditors, which at that point could not legally take your home from you and have to stop all collection activities involving the home. "It is hard on the sick child to know the family is losing their home. They sometimes blame themselves because of their illness costing so much. Imagine losing your child to an illness and you and your family also lose the home that you raised your child in. I have met too many people in this situation. It is so hard on the mom and dad and the siblings already, but not being able to come home makes it that much worse", Ed Silver states.
VIEW THE VIDEO AT THIS LINK www.edwardsilver.com
- News Release

"Upshur Native Helps Mother Deal With Loss of Son"

By BECKY WAGONER, Staff Writer

HE GAVE THE ULTIMATE SACRIFICE — Sgt. Michael Taylor, 23, gave his life for his country, his family and his fellow man on Dec. 7, 2005, while serving in Iraq. His family proudly displays the medals he received during his time of service, July 2001 to December 2005.
Thousands of miles away in Tomball, Texas, a mother still finds comfort and support in a song composed by an Upshur County native.

Stephanie Taylor Tompkins, mother of the late Sgt. Michael C. Taylor, continues to find solace in “Letter to the Editor” composed by Ed Silver, a singer and songwriter.
Henline first heard of the soldier’s passing from a news report and decided to put his feelings into song. He wanted to do something to show his support and to help comfort the family as they were forced to move forward without their loved one.

“I am a strong supporter of our military,” he said. “I felt like it was Christmas time and I am here with my family because of soldiers like Sgt. Michael Taylor and his family’s sacrifices.”

With assistance from the Klein Funeral Home, Henline’s song was presented to the Tompkins just before Christmas.

“I received his song on Christmas Eve 2005 and upon hearing it, I knew that this man had captured the thoughts and feelings that I had been experiencing for the better of two weeks, but could never find the words to express,” Tompkins said. “His intuition surrounding the life and attitude of Michael was uncanny. In four minutes, my thoughts and feelings had been validated by a perfect stranger, who I now consider my friend.

“‘Letter to the Editor’ continues to sustain me as I trudge my way through this grieving process — a grieving process that will never be truly over until that glorious day that I hold my beautiful, blue-eyed son in my arms again,” she said. “The song is a warm cloak of comfort which will always be firmly wrapped around my shoulders and tied tightly beneath my chin.”

With Christmas 2006 just days away, the chorus of “Letter to the Editor” is something that many families who have lost loved ones in military actions can relate:

“He gave you future Christmases he could have spent with me

“He gave you all his presents, could’ve been under our tree

“He gave you a gift you can’t unwrap on Christmas day.

“So to you my friends I have one wish

“You’ll remember my son’s Christmas gift.”

Taylor, 23, a member of the 588th Maintenance Company, 19th Maintenance Battalion, died in combat operations on Dec. 7, 2005, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his heavy expanded mobility tactical truck in Balad, Iraq, in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Just hours before learning of her son’s death, Tompkins, as did all members of the family, received a Christmas card from Taylor in the mail. The card expressed his love for his family and how he looked forwarded to returning home in January.

This song offers recognition to all parents who have lost their children in military action for their silent and unchosen sacrifice, Tompkins said.

“Never have I felt so alone in my grief as I have with the death of my son. I gave him life and was supposed to be his protector,” she said. “My hope is that all of these parents will hear and identify with ‘Letter to the Editor’ and realize that they are not without sympathy and compassion.”

Tompkins said the lyrics perfectly express the rise of an American hero from the common people of America.

“This song ensures that her son will be remembered and memorialized for the chosen sacrifice that he made for his country, his family and his fellow man,” she said.

“I believe that all who give up their lives in the line of duty for their country should always be remembered and honored by every American who enjoys their day-to-day walk of freedom,” she said.

“In the dark days following my son’s death, I could not even begin to consider him a hero, as he was not just a soldier in my eyes but my living and breathing flesh and blood. Through Ed’s song I was able to accept the great sacrifice that he made for all who live beneath the flag of freedom. Thanks to Ed, I now believe that Michael is a great American hero as well my precious and beloved son.”
- Inter-Moutain Newspaper


All songs written and sung by Ed Silver. Recorded in Nashville with the likes of John Wesly Riles on background vocals, and many musicians who have played for many Nashville artists like Alan Jackson, Tobey Kieth and more.

"My Name is Julie" Song and Music Video Can be viewed at www.edwardsilver.com Inspired by the true story of a brave young girl who was dying of cancer who worried more about her family than herself.

"Letter to the Editor" Song and Video can be viewed at www.edwardsilver.com A tribute to Sgt. Micheal Taylor and a very special Christmas Card he sent to his mother. She received the card in the mail just hours before the military arrived at her home to tell her her son died that same day.

"I'm Sure I Can Make You Smile" Song and Video already shot will be available soon.

"My Imaginary Place" a song dedicated to the military kids who have to wait at home for their soldier parents.

"I feel Like" A funny song about some people who make you very angry.

"When I Woke Up This Morning I Had My Dream" A song dedicated to his wife Susie.

And many more.


Feeling a bit camera shy


What just some of Ed's fans have said, says it all.

“In the dark days following my son’s death, I could not even begin to consider him a hero, as he was not just a soldier in my eyes but my living and breathing flesh and blood. Through Ed’s song I was able to accept the great sacrifice that he made for all who live beneath the flag of freedom. Thanks to Ed, I now believe that Michael is a great American hero as well my precious and beloved son.” Stephanie Tompkins in a newspaper interview about her story and the song and video Ed completed for her and her family.

"A Great Song" John Schneider - T.V.s Dukes of Hazzard and Smallville During interview with Ed Silver about his song and video at Disney.(My Name Is Julie)

"Thank you for all the great things you do for our military families." - Major General Allen E. Tackett, the Adjutant General of West Virginia (US)

A beautiful tribute to my son! Thank you!
Texas, Stephanie, Mother of Sgt. Michael C. Taylor
KIA 12/7/2005
Balad, Iraq (Letter to the Editor)

"It did touch my heart deeply" - Moby National radio DJ (Moby in the Morning & Best small town in America) (My Name Is Julie)

I am the Aunt of Sgt. Michael C. Taylor, I really appreciate everything you have done. Michael's story and memory will live in the hearts of others because of you. Thank you so much!! Proud Aunt of Sgt. Michael C. Taylor
KIA 12/7/2005
Balad, Iraq (Letter to the Editor)

I saw your piece on WBOY and was very touched.
God Bless You. (My Name Is Julie) Renee, West Virginia

That was a beautiful video. That shows the true heart of WV. I cried through the whole video. (My Name Is Julie) Jessica, West Virginia

Just wanted to say I received your video today, MY NAME IS JULIE, you talk about a tear jerker. I came across this video on the internet wow great! Straight to the heart ! I can't say enough god bless you all. (My Name Is Julie) Sue, Arizona

Dear Ed,
I found you at CD Baby. You have a great singing voice! Jeff, Maine

We really enjoyed your DVD. Thank you for sharing this with us! (My Name Is Julie) Amy , West Virginia

I just wanted to let you know that I am already a fan of yours for making a song like that and just knowing how much you care, it does make a difference. Take care, (My Name Is Julie) Yvonne, Virginia

Wonderful video you are an inspiration and a great signer. I think you were meant to meet this young girl. (My Name Is Julie) Jill, Georgia

I'll never think of collection can's the same way again. (My Name Is Julie) Daniel, Texas

Love your songs they are truly great. Terry, Nova Scotia

Thank you for your support not only with Lil Mike but in the military in general. The video was nice. Thank you for your efforts and time.
(Letter to the Editor)
Your New Fan,
PV2 Moreno, Stephen S

The video that you made for Michael "Letter To The Editor"is the ultimate tribute, not only to Michael, but also to everyone who has lost someone in the war. Tiffany, Texas