As usual, I’m never really certain I’m going to make one of these missions until it’s either leave now or forever hold your peace. And such was the case again today, either go to work, save a vacation day, have a nice day in the office or ride a motorcycle in who knows what weather, through traffic that makes me nervous even in the beast, to a destination where you never know if you will be welcome or not.
But the day turned out to be another one of those rewarding days that will stay with me for a lifetime. I left the park just before 7, still dark. Hit the Beltway toll bridge, still dark. Hit the normal pileup at I-10/I-610, still dark. If you’ve ever been totally exposed to sheer terror, you understand that part of the ride.
I found the staging area and was amazed, again, at the number of people that are able to and take the time to come out for the Patriot Guard events. It’s is amazing to me. Most are veterans, most of the veterans are from the Vietnam era.
I think that most of the Vietnam vets turn out because it is their opportunity to tell the country that this is what should have happened to them. But didn’t. And in doing so, perhaps they are able to remove some of the shame that they have carried with them through the years.
The funeral procession was very moving. From the church parking lot (Crossroads Baptist Church) to the interstate, approximately. 5 miles, the street was lined with people expressing their gratitude for Pfc. Kosters’ sacrifice. Just like the riders, these were ordinary citizens taking time out of their busy lives. Entire offices closed. The school ROTC came out. Several fire departments were out.
The escort completely closed I-45 for the procession, then did the same on the Beltway. I’ve never seen that before. At one overpass in the Woodlands, two fire trucks were parked nose to nose with their ladders extended upwards, forming an arch. Truly awesome.
During the funeral at the church, I found a place to sit in the trees and listened to the choir as they sang How Great is Our God. What an inspiring chorus to hear during a funeral for a young man.
Name above all names, Worthy of our praise
My heart will sing how great, Is our God
Why do I go to these funerals? After the service at the cemetery was over and the crowd had dispersed, I walked over to the casket and just stood silently, praying for his family. I felt a gentle touch upon my shoulder and turned to see the misty eyes of grieving aunt as she said thank you for what you did, it meant so much.
To be a part in relieving the grief of the families of soldiers killed in action is a privilege that I cannot take for granted. May it never be so. Although I can still dream that the deaths will end soon.