To encourage and fortify relationships between military service members, veterans, their families, their friends, and their Country; to nurture the path of communication for everyone, ensuring that no one is alone or left behind; and proving that we have not, are not, and will never forget the nobility of their sacrifices.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Chinook Tragedy In Afghanistan

Photo by Kristina Divine Memorial Day 2011

I was at a Cub Scout Camp with my boys when I found out about the death of the 30 men on the Chinook. I shared the sad information with the Cub Master, a Veteran. At the camp fire, a Flag was retired. Before it was placed in the fire the Cub Master read a variation of the poem I Am The Flag. He included the lost and their families into the ceremony. The Flag retirement ceremony seemed like a fitting memorial for the service members who had died fighting for the Flag. The ceremony was emotional for several of us around the camp fire. Once home I contacted my friends who knew a few of the deceased and offered my compassion for their loss. I shared with them the experience of the Flag ceremony as a memorial. I have been given permission to post part of their response to their friends sacrifices.
Don't cry for any lost, though. Know that all (well, most of us) join these communities with the full knowledge and acceptance of the possible outcome. Many of us would rather die doing something to help others than as old people in our beds. Don't cry or mourn...celebrate and be grateful and love them and their familiies for what they did. 
I have experienced my share of death in this life, it is the living I feel for, because learning to live without a loved one can be like learning to breathe underwater. It seems impossible at first. I hope the families of the fallen from this crash, as well as the families of the fallen over the last 10 years from Iraq and Afghanistan feel the love and support of American's everywhere. As my other friend put it:

Its okay to cry and mourn, but what i like to do is think about the good times that you had with them and the smiles that you shared. I knew some of the guys that went down in the Chinook and finding out about their names this morning, I was hurt at first, mad the next second, and then realized that theres nothing I can do about it now. We spent the rest of the day laughing remembering funny things those guys had done and said. Laugh, smile and remember the good times.
The men who died are more than a number on a tragic day. They are sons, fathers, brothers, husbands, uncles, and friends. I wanted to take my friends advice and write a post that celebrated their lives, only I didn't have the honor to know any of them. Then I found this article by Stars and Stripes which celebrates the lives of each one of the men through the eyes of those who loved them. I highly recommend you read and honor the lives and the families of the men who died in the crash.

Remember Their Sacrifice. Our Freedom.

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