Today I attended a memorial service for some fallen Soldiers. It was a very interesting situation to find myself in. Memorial services of any type are always hard to attend. Soldier's memorials tear my heart apart. I went to support a friend. I went to support the family of a fallen Soldier. It's never supposed to be about you when you are there to offer support. I think on the outside I did what I was supposed to, I think I said the right words (and yes they were heartfelt), I gave the appropriate touches of support, I hope I accomplished whatever it is the Lord sent me to do.
On the flipside, at moments it very much became about me (not to anyone else but within myself). As I drove into the parking lot of the chapel, I remembered walking across that same concrete to attend the memorial service with Nita. As I entered the back door of the Chapel, I remembered milling around in there with the families of the Fallen almost 2 years ago. As we were escorted to the pew where the families were to sit, I was again transported to another memorial service. I glanced around me and saw the flags still hanging with the 4th ID insignia. I looked to my left and saw the one labeled with the 4. That was our flag, this was our chapel, that memorial was for our Soldiers. It was weird because the Chaplain that spoke was our chaplain, I remember calling him and reaching out for his support on April 29th, 2006. So again, in my mind...he was our Chaplain. It was almost like being a 3 year old on the verge of a tantrum, pouting and stomping their feet because they want something they feel is theirs. It doesn't matter that it's been given to someone else now, it was mine first and I want it back.
The reality is that it no longer is ours. The Army is all about change and all these things belong to others now. On the same note, it's a reminder that while the Army is constantly changing there are things that are very much the same. The rush of emotions today were much like the emotions I have felt during other memorials I've attended. I can always hold it together until I hear the Final Roll Call, the firing volleys and Taps. That's when I lose it. Those symbols of honor touch my heart. It's the finality of the situation at hand.
I know that a lot of what I felt today has to do with the impending deployment. This is the first service I've attended when Kevin was still at home. He couldn't attend, he was busy...busy packing for Iraq. They are in their final stages of predeployment. It was hard not to think about him while sitting in this chapel. This is the reality of our lifestyle.
I don't want to take anything away from the four Soldiers honored today. It truly is a privilege to attend any ceremony in which Soldiers are honored. I am grateful for these four men who paid the price for my freedom. I pray for their families and their fellow Soldiers continue to heal. I know that these men will not be forgotten.
Thank you SSG Bryant Mackey, CPT Torre Mallard, SGT Phillip Anderson, SPC Donald Burkett.
I couldn't write this blog and not mention the five men who's losses have truly affected me and it was their memorial services I was transported to many times throughout today. I know the men who were honored today won't be forgotten. I know this because it will soon be two years since we bid farewell to our own Fallen Heroes and I know their memories and legacies continue in the hearts of those who loved them and those they served with.
♥SGT Brandon Teeters, CPT James Funkhouser, SFC Bryant Herlem, SGT Jose Gomez, SGT Jeremy King♥