We live in a small community in a small county. Our county has somewhere along the lines of 50,000 residents, so we're kind of a close-knit bunch. The small towns often come together to support families through cancer or loss of a home through fire or any number of other hardships.
Recently in our little town, we lost one of our young men who grew up here. He was a Marine, killed in action in Afganistan.
Our town puts up flags all along the few miles of highway that serve as our main street, during Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Independence Day, and as soon as word got around that this young man lost his life, the flags appeared.
Soon thereafter storefront signs changed to show their support of this Marine and his family and we heard that everyone planned on gathering on the highway on Sunday afternoon when the family returned to town to show their support.
After church on Sunday we gathered the girls and headed down to the designated area on the highway. It was overwhelming to see the show of support from our small town. There was an estimated time of arrival, but we were soon told that it would be delayed. The county sheriffs met the family at the county line to give them an escort, and it seems that not only was our town out on the highway, but every town from the county line on in, was out in force, lining the highway, flying flags and showing their support.
Many of us stood in the sun on the side of the road for a good hour and a half to two hours to honor this family and the sacrifice their son made for our country. It only took a few seconds for them to drive by, but it was the most worthwhile afternoon I've spent in a very long time. To see this young man's mom put her hand against the car window as she passed by as if to reach out and touch all those who were there for her was worth it.
My heart was heavy and full at the same time.
A sign in town said it best, "Let us insure that our future was worth all his tomorrows".