This was not a young man that I knew. He was simply a young man who grew up near here.
While I celebrated the birth of my son, another mother, just a few miles away, lost hers.
On Friday, September 9, 2011, 19 year old PFC Brett Wood gave his life in service, killed by a roadside bomb in the Kandahar Province of Afghanistan. This morning, Sunday, September 18, 2011, escorted by his brother Nikk, 21, PFC Wood returned home.
I went to the airport to welcome him home. The weather was fitting – it was cool, cloudy. A soft rain fell. Umbrellas were outnumbered by American flags. I saw bikers, businessmen and Boy Scouts. Mothers holding toddlers.
I stood first in a parking lot that I know well, quietly waiting in the rain. I didn’t bring an umbrella down with me, I wanted my hands free. I’d been there a few minutes when a woman walked up to me, offering me a small flag of my own to hold. I’m sure I looked a sight, dripping wet, no makeup, all alone, but it felt fitting.
The plane passed over the airfield twice, then circled around to land. As it taxied towards the hanger where the family was gathered, two fire trucks sprayed crossing streams over it.
I stood in the back of the hangar and awed at the complete stillness. Other than the occasional whimper of a small child and the hum of some piece of equipment in the building, it was silent.
PFC Wood, thank you for your service to our country.
All is well.
God is near.