Saturday, October 10, 2009

The War came home to Reynoldsburg

For those who think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are just distant conflicts, they're not. They're as close as your next door neighbors. I went to stand with hundreds of flag carrying Patriots today as we lined the procession route to honor fallen hero Army Sgt. Titus Reynolds, 23, of Reynoldsburg, Ohio. Killed in action in Afghanistan. It was gut wrenching. As the funeral procession came into view, a quiet hush fell on the crowd; all traffic stopped in reverence. Not a sound, not a word, as the loyal and respectful Patriot Guard Riders slowly streamed by. Followed by the hearse carrying our beloved Soldier. And then Titus' family. I stood there, silent, holding up a picture of Titus. As the the family vehicle moved slowly by, Titus' mom saw the picture and we made eye contact. Briefly. Mom to mom. She slowly pressed her hand on the closed car window and whispered "Thank you." Imagine that. Her thanking us while on the way to bury a part of herself, her beautiful young son. I wish I could have told her that it is we who thank her. I think she knew. I hope she knew. At the cemetery, Titus' young wife sobbed as she clutched the flag her husband died defending. Their first year wedding anniversary was to have been Monday, October 12. My heart ached for her. Later, I shared with a friend of mine how gut wrenching the funeral was. He said that's why he didn't want to go. I told him that you don't go for yourself; you go for them. You must go. You must feel some measure of the pain. So that you never forget the price that was paid for your freedom. Never.