At the torchlight parade in town last weekend, a large number of Gold Star families marched with large individual banners showing the loved one who sacrificed his or her life in military service for our country. It was too dark for me to get a photograph of this particular group in the parade… or maybe it was the tears in my eyes as we all stood for them as they marched past us, or perhaps it was the shaking of the camera as people all around were applauding their bravery in being there for all to see, acknowledging their forever loss. We were situated near the beginning of the parade route and I wondered if those who were there to march in memory of their loved ones had considered how difficult this event might be — to walk in place of the person gone forever from their lives, to hear applause as a “Thank You” and to see rows upon rows of people standing up in their honor.
It was growing dark when these families passed by where we were waiting. I can’t tell you for sure how many banners were carried, but it was not a small number. I saw at least one woman wiping tears away as she walked with other members of her family. Without a doubt, it was no easy task.
I found this image on the newspaper website (it was too dark for my camera to capture the scene). The photo was taken by Tyler Tjomsland prior to the beginning of the parade. If you click on the photo itself, you will be taken to the newspaper article with the accompanying photo. It tells the story of just one family, that of SFC Beattie. When SFC Beattie was killed, his daughter (pictured second from right) was 3 weeks shy of graduating from high school. That was one year ago.
Here is a link to take you to a larger image if you would like to see the photograph more clearly:
SnakeMaster is assisting with the flag ceremony at a Veteran’s cemetery. I’m proud of him and his act of service as a Boy Scout. I realize that the meaning of today is not very clear in his twelve-year-old brain, but someday he will understand important concepts like remembrance and keeping alive the memory of those who have gone before us. Someday, he will see Gold Star families and find compassion bubbling up inside of his heart.