Oh My Gosh! It has been weeks since I have even looked at my beloved blog let alone blogged away! The last few weeks have been challenging to say the least. Where do I begin???
I guess I should begin with what is most important. On the April 10th 2009 Bombing in Mosul, Iraq a local soldier ,SFC. Bryan Hall, and childhood friend of my husband Colin lost his life. He was a Staff Sergeant who was due to be promoted (and has since been promoted since his passing) to Sergeant First Class. He had just finished the Ranger training and had been back in Iraq only a week after spending time with his wife, 2 year old daughter, and his family when he was killed. I went to high school with him, we graduated in the same class, but our school was so large we didn't know each other, though I am sure we crossed paths.
It hits you like a ton of bricks. Colin had a tough time, as he had just seen Bryan and his family walking a week before he went back. Being that we have two daughters, the reality of a child living without her father, is a much more painful thought. He was a hero, responsible for his platoon, a 14 year career soldier, and a proud defender of this great country. Regardless of any one's politics or views on the wars, he was a Hero, and he will not be forgotten for his sacrifices and his family's sacrifices.
There was a huge procession after his body was flown home. The local fire department drove to the airport and brought home his flag draped coffin a top a fire truck to the funeral home in old town. The Patriot Guard, Police Department and others, joined the procession at the airport in tribute and out of respect. Word was put out on the Local news channels, and Citizen's lined the Boulevard, Fire Trucks with their Men standing on top Lined the overpasses along the freeway. As the Flags waived, parents explained to their children the importance of the day, and the importance of showing our respect and our support to the the Soldier and his family.
Colin felt it was important we go to the funeral. I am really an emotional avoider. I avoid all things emotional, I rarely cry (ie it can be years in between jaunts). It isn't that I do not feel things, I am just not good at showing it, and I avoid it, because frankly the crying and release of control, is somewhat frightening. However, uncomfortable as it may be, Mr. Hall, was uncomfortable for 14 years, and I felt it was only right, only respectful to go. I did so badly dread it, and had made myself sick thinking about it.
The day of the funeral I piled into the truck with Colin, his mother, and his grandparents, who all knew the Hall family. Instead of a pack of Kleenexes I packed a box. I knew that this was going to be a beautiful but emotional funeral. I was so right. I learned things I never knew about my former classmate. He seemed to be quite the guy, those that knew him should be honored, those that didn't are poorer for it and we as a community have suffered quite a loss as he will never be back.
As a pregnant woman, I was unable to contain my usually stoic nature. I was able to keep the tears from flowing, my mind from racing (would I be able to deal if I was his wife), and my eyes from fixating on his beautiful innocent 2 year old daughter. She is unable to grasp what was happening to her, she was smiling, and happy. She was surrounded by a family who adores her and will care for her, who will do their best to fill the gaps. His wife was graceful, and though she didn't speak, a representative shared her words of love to her husband, and her grief. His family too was graceful in their grief, they showed true honor, pride, and dignity at a time of unspeakable grief and tragedy. They are an inspiration. Mr. Hall lived as an inspiration. And he deserves all the honor and gratitude that we as a nation can proclaim.
No, I never knew Mr. Hall, chances are neither did you. But that doesn't mean that we don't grieve for them or the families. It doesn't mean that we can not tell soldiers when we see them, thank you, even though we do not know them. It means, that we should. I have never been to war, it takes a very special and strong man or woman, and a very strong family to sacrifice what I would view to be a normal life, to defend our country. Thank the soldiers and their families that you run into, thank the ones you know. They deserve to know they are respected and appreciated.