Friday, November 11, 2011

A Very Special Veteran

My husband's cousin, Randy, was a very special young man. He had served two tours of duty in Iraq. He moved back to Indiana. To his home. To his family. To his girlfriend. He graduated from college. He was interviewing for his first job.

A couple of weeks ago, his pick-up truck crossed the line on the highway just down from our house. He was killed instantly. He was 26.

While as on any Veteran's Day, I'm thankful for my father, father-in-law, and uncles who have served our country, this one will be bittersweet. I still have my father, father-in-law and a few uncles. And the ones who've passed on all lived a good long life.

Randy didn't get to see his 27th birthday. He didn't get to get married. Or be a father. But while sitting in the church for his funeral, a group of young men and women walked in. They carried themselves with the kind of pride that comes from doing what is right. Living for all the right reasons. Heads held high. Backs straight.

Randy's fellow soldiers.

As I cried during his Army burial with the gun salute and taps being played, I realized that, yes, he died young. Yes, he would miss so much of this life. But, in the nearly 27 years he lived. He lived.

 Really lived.

That young man not only touched the lives of his family and many friends, he touched the heart of a country.

And I, as an American, am forever grateful.



Jennifer Johnson said...

Wow! What a powerful story to begin this Veteran's Day. Thanks

Ruth J. Hartman said...

Thanks Jennifer :)