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Thursday, June 6, 2013
HE CAME HOME TO A HERO’S WELCOME AT 3:15
Yesterday afternoon the crowd began to gather, along old Route 66 outside my office, nearly two hours before our fallen hero arrived. It was not an air of excitement or enthusiasm, more one of respect and anticipation. I walked across the street to ask an onlooker when the processional was expected. She was texting with someone who was waiting 15 miles down the Interstate and they still had not passed. We knew they had left the airport nearly an hour before. It was obvious they were moving slowly.
I waited with my own brand of anticipation. My every thought was of gratitude for the young man’s service while relieved that the hearse’s silent passenger did not bear my name.
I was near the overpass, between Route 66 and the Interstate, when they came up the ramp at 3:15. I had expected a small group of cars and one hearse, I was very surprised. I was filled with awe and respect at the scene that unfolded before my eyes. The processional was led by several police cars, fire trucks, something between 30 and 50 motorcycles many of which were flying flags, assorted cars, veterans’ vehicles, and finally a sole white hearse. Fire trucks and firemen lined the overpass, the ladder truck’s ladder was fully extended and flying a giant flag. A small helicopter hovered overhead. People were everywhere.
Overwhelmed, I crossed my heart and did my best to focus on the scene. The firemen stood at attention and saluted, everyone around me crossed their hearts, and not a word was uttered. The only sounds were the rumble of Harley Davidson’s and the helicopter’s rotor beating the air. I trembled.
After they passed, and disappeared from my sight, I turned to walk away. A lone man standing nearby was stock still, his hand locked solidly over his heart. It was as though he was unwilling or unable to move.
A young man made the ultimate sacrifice in defense of our country. He gave all so we can continue to live freely. Most of us will never deploy, we will never go to war. That honor is reserved for a brave few, but we can do our part. We can uphold and defend our freedoms and democracy at home. We can reduce our national debt, increase our GDP, and work together to make our country better.
Today is the anniversary of D-Day. On June 6, 1944 Allied Forces invaded Normandy, France. Yesterday a hero came home to Missouri.
Let us remember why we are free. Let us all respect the incredible cost associated with our way of life. God Bless America!
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