Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Bigger Than Running

A few days ago, my sister sent me an email containing this post. She said, "I know this is a running blog, but this is really important to me and I'd like to share it with people." So here goes:

On 30 December I had the honor of attending a Dignified Transfer.  For those who are unfamiliar with what this is, let me explain.  When a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, or Airmen from any service is killed in action, the military places extreme reverence on the transportation of his/her body from the theater of operations to their home country.  Because we are currently fighting with a coalition force, this ceremony is conducted regardless of the nationality of the service member. 
Tonight we honored a Georgian soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice.  I have never met this man; in fact I did not even know his name.  But I joined approximately 100 other service members in honoring his service and sacrifice as his casket was loaded onto the C-130 that would fly him back to his loved ones. 
We lined up in two formations on either side of the plane’s ramp and participated in the most solemn event I have ever been a part of.  As the casket was carried onto the plane the commander gave the call to “Present Arms,” and everyone slowly rendered a final salute.  The members of his unit then boarded the plane to say their final goodbyes and the formation was dismissed.
The news spends a lot of time focusing on the “bad” parts of the war.  This is quite possibly the worst part of the war, but a part that cannot be forgotten.  I’m grateful that I’m located on a relatively safe base where I have access to the Internet, regular phone calls, hot showers, a comfortable bed, and three hot meals a day.  I’m grateful that I can run around the base without worry and go to the gym every day.  Many people who are over here in Afghanistan do not have these luxuries. 
To the man I saw being loaded onto the C-130 tonight, you will never be forgotten.  

Source (not from Jessica's current deployment)