A Hero Comes Home
This past week has been filled with sadness and tears. This young man who grew up in our town was killed in Afghanistan when a bomb exploded. Suddenly his life was ended and in a few short hours our town was buzzing with the news.
Yellow ribbons went up all over town.
Flags were lowered.
Patriotism grew in our hearts as we realized one of our own had paid the ultimate price.
War came home - and it hurt.
Life seemed to come into a different view. A view that you don't look through very often.
You see, he grew up in the same town that my son is growing up in. He rode his bike down the same streets that my son does. He went to work with his Dad just like my son is doing right now. The same coach that coached my son in football this fall also coached this fallen hero not too many years ago.
So, we paid our respects. We stood on the street corner and watched as the hero was brought home to be honored and mourned - at the same time.
We listened as the gun gave their salute. It was with my hand over my heart and tears running down my cheeks that I stood and listened to that sounds. So deafening. So final. So sad. And I wanted to grasp my son close to my chest and weep. I wanted to hold him tight and never let go.
The final salute to this hero came on Sunday afternoon when military honors were given. The casket was marched across the river by Marines dressed in their finest dress. The guns gave their salute and taps was played. Hundreds were there in attendance to say goodbye and to let the family know that they are not alone.
I thought about mixed emotions as I stood there. How deeply his parents are grieving and yet how proud they are of their oldest son giving his life for our freedom. I prayed for them. I watched as a grieving mother clutched the neatly folded flag close her and broke down in tears.
This past week - we honored a hero. We stood shoulder to shoulder as a community when the helicopter flew overhead. We stood there in silence and felt the cold air from the propelling blades turn the air. The quietness of so many people was, in and of itself, moving. What a comfort it was to hear the hero's pastor read from the Bible the passage reminding us that we have hope. How thankful I am for the hope of Heaven.
How thankful I am for this hero. How my heart goes out to his family. This past weekend we were reminded that freedom is never free. We still mourn and pray for his family as they start down this path of grief.