A few years ago we watched a movie that made a huge impact on me. I actually think of it often and am still moved by it. The movie was “Taking Chance”, starring Kevin Bacon. It is about a fallen soldier being taken home and the military officer who accompanied him. I cried through the entire movie, I really wanted to just sit and sob, but retained my composure and just let the tears fall.
All too often in recent years, we have seen videos of our military personnel who are being loaded onto aircraft. We see the honor guard and the spouses and family standing soberly by the casket. It is heart wrenching to say the least. But, it truly is what these heroes deserve.
A couple of nights ago, a gentleman from our church passed away. I confess, I did not know him well. I knew him to see him and I loved when he would stand to pray. His prayers were bold, and strong and elegant. His prayers would make my heart soar. Hubby, though, did know this man. He had visited him frequently the past month as his health was declining. So, the other night when we received a call that he had passed, hubby went to the hospital to be with the family.
I got a text from him an hour or so later and he said that he would be staying with this man until he was taken to the morgue. I didn’t think much of it, it just sounds like something my husband would do. He came home later that night and I could tell the passing of this man had touched my husband’s heart. We knew he was now out of pain and was peaceful. Hubby said there was almost a smile on his face in death, and we both agreed that he most likely saw the glory of heaven in his last moments and that is enough to make anyone smile.
As I started to drift off to sleep that night, it occurred to me what my husband had done that evening. He had said when he came in that his feet were a bit tired from standing and I didn’t connect the dots until I was trying to go to sleep. He was standing watch for his friend, who not only was his friend, but, a brother in arms. This man who died was a combat veteran who had served in the Air Force for 20 years. He served in Viet Nam and the military when it wasn’t fashionable to do so. He served his country when most people ridiculed our military. He never received accolades given for his service like they are given today. No one stopped him on the street to thank him for his service. He quietly did his duty. He was a hero.
And, my husband, who recognized this hero stood watch beside him. To the staff at the hospital, he was a cancer patient who had most likely lived a full life. He was older and he lost his battle to cancer. Hubby, though, knew the rest of the story. He knew he was a veteran. They had shared stories of their time in the service, they bonded as only brothers in arms can.
So, at the end of his life, he received the honor he deserved. He was not left alone. He had a brother standing guard, watching and making certain he was taken care of.
Heroes come in all shapes and sizes and ages. I am proud I have my own hero. A man who respects the tenants and traditions of the military. A man who will honor the heroes that have served and gone on before him.
Thanks for stopping by today. Cathi (DAF)