Monday, June 11, 2012

Tribute to an Unknown Hero (2nd attempt)

Wow. I just poured my heart out in a tribute post to a fallen soldier and only a few sentences away from the end, I somehow managed to delete the entire thing. And then it auto saved and I couldn't even go back to my draft. That makes me feel sick.
I'm not sure I can handle trying to write that one again... But I still feel compelled to pay my respects to this fallen hero.

Over the weekend, our small-ish town lost a soldier to the war in Afghanistan. He was the first resident of our city killed while on active duty since Vietnam.
And this soldier was 20 years old. 20 YEARS OLD!!! 

My heart is heavy with the loss of a man I never met.

Tyler's mom is the receptionist at my son's school. Anytime you go into the office she greets you with a cheerful smile. She is always happy to deliver lunches, take messages, or hold items for kiddos during school hours.
Memorial set up at the school

Her and I had never gotten into true conversation. We'd only exchanged pleasantries as I hurriedly dropped off a forgotten lunch, or a guitar for after school lessons. I had no idea that she had a son who was deployed. Her demeanor never indicated that she was likely in a constant state of worry. Living always in the unknown... not knowing where her son may be at any given moment. Whether he was scared, lonely, or hurt. Not knowing if she would ever hug her son again or hear his voice.
And now, she wont.
His young life was tragically taken while he was serving our country. Tyler gave the ultimate sacrifice.
His bright future, wiped out. Just... gone. 
I am aware that this happens every day. I know that the heart wrenching tragedy and loss is out there. I am not ignorant to this fact. But it's one of those things that you can't always dwell on... it's all consuming. So, it gets pushed to the back of your mind as you carry on with your day.
But this time, it hit close to home. (I knew another young soldier who was killed, back in 2004. While still equally as tragic, I was not yet a Mother, so I was unaware of the pain... the terrible, terrible pain.)
There are people near me who are hurting in a tremendous way. And I hate it. I hate knowing it. I hate having to let the sadness and the reality of people's loss come out from the back of my mind where I pushed it, and being forced to recognize it.
I hate knowing that this cheerful, good natured woman who happily brought my son his lunch, will never see her baby's face again. I cannot even imagine the pain she is enduring right now. Even the little bit that I can imagine is enough to bring me to tears, just thinking about it.
So right now, in my little corner of the world, I will hug my babies close. I will thank God for giving them to me and pray that He will keep them safe.
And I will thank Tyler for giving everything for our freedom. And I will thank his family for making him into the kind of man who would give everything. And I pray that they will come to accept God's will and find peace in his loss even though they may not understand it. I pray that their collective love for one another, and for Tyler, will bring them comfort and strength as they are left to mourn his passing.

To all of the service men and women who have given all that they had, or all that they might ever have, I thank you. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. And thank you to the brave families who are left behind.
And to all of you that made it home safely... THANK YOU too. Thank you for your service and know that your safe return is celebrated!