Another Fallen Hero:
As I posted below, Cpt. Snyder's funeral was on Friday, December 14 in Ft. Pierce, Florida. On Saturday, December 15, I attended the funeral of Sgt. Daniel Beougher, 23, Ft. Myers, Florida.
"Danny" was the youngest of four boys -- the only one who chose military service. He had survived two tours in Iraq and one in Afganistan, only to come home and be killed by a drunk driver. He and his wife were within one mile of the family home when a truck crossed the median and struck their vehicle. Danny was pronounced dead at the scene. His wife was critically injured and remained in the hospital for 10 days and was unable to attend his funeral.
After the accident one or two of the people in the truck ran from the scene. One woman remained in the cab of the truck, on the passenger side, but she is suspected of being the driver. The Highway Patrol is investigating.
At Danny's funeral I met his Grandmother Rose. She's a tiny little lady; probably around 75 years old. She has lost a brother, a son (Danny's father) and now a grandson to hit and run drivers. When we met she asked if she could read to me what she was going to read from the podium during the service. We sat down together and she read her brief introduction that she'd written and then took out a piece of paper that she had obviously held on to for a long time. I put my arm around her while she read. When she was finished I told her that what she had chosen was absolutely perfect. That's when she told me about the other accidents.
The Army had chosen to present Danny's family with his Purple Heart and another badge privately in the church library. The Army officers and the family asked me to join them and present the Gold Star banners after the medal presentation. So that's how it happened that day. I told them I am much more comfortable speaking in front of a thousand people than so closely with all of the family (about 20 people), because I was so afraid of disappointing them. Danny's mother-in-law accepted his wife's Gold Star banner. She was so sweet. She hugged me and didn't want to let go.
I stayed for the funeral and then drove the 2 and 1/2 hours back home truly exhausted but thankful to have been allowed the privilege of honoring these two families. After seeing the photos of the graveside service I wish I'd gone along with the Patriot Guard. Next time I will so I have no regrets.
Today I received a response from my new boss on my request to take this afternoon off to take Austin to the airport. She knocked the wind out of me; kicked my legs out from under me; broke my heart. She e-mailed me, "I would recommend you contemplate your commitment to your position and XXX over the next few days and decide if you feel you can honor that commitment. . ." No one has ever questioned my commitment to my job --- in fact, others have always spoken of my passion for my job and my mastery of my responsibilities.
So I cried most of the day; talked to some of the other managers and was assured that I was a valued employee and my dedication to my job is exceptional.
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Another Fallen Hero:
Posted by Write Before Sleep at 6:47 PM