Saturday, September 09, 2006

His brother sang goodbye.

Today we buried another young man. A young man who had studied to be a police officer, a young man who helped his high school football team to a championship, a TaeKwonDo black belt. They called him a rock, they called him a wonderful brother and devoted son, a good soldier and a great friend.

His mother, when the bishop told the congregation to give the kiss of peace, went down the front row, not of her family, but of the dignitaries. She gave a kiss of peace and love to the Governor, senators, generals, colonels, the men who sent her oldest son to war. His younger brother sang Amazing Grace, his voice roughened with tears, and there wasn't a dry eye in the high school auditorium.

The Patriot Guard was the honor guard, and it was stunning.

But after all that pomp, the tears and the brave words, the medals and the music, there's a hole in the world, a huge hole in his family. A wonderful blend of Hispanic and Swedish, aunts, uncles, cousins galore, but so wounded and sad and lonely.

Take a minute and think of him and of them. And of his friends in the Sand, who had a memorial service there, so far away from that lovely town in the Red River Valley near Sauk Centre. There's a hole there too. They don't want to remember how he died, I don't know that I want to either. But we need to, need to remember that a young man did his duty. We don't need to think, for now, of how or why this all started, we just need to remember him, and the others who die every day, their families, their friends. Goodbye Josh.


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