Monday, August 27, 2007

God NO, Please, No

She cried.

Saturday morning took us to the funeral services for Cpl. Shawn D. Hensel. We road up in the rain. It was fitting.

We stood our flag line out front of the church for about 90 minutes. The old knees not being what they used to be, I was looking forward to the dismissal so I could take a break. At about 5 minutes after the service started a couple of the ushers came out and told us the family had requested we line the inside of the church with our flags... I am not one to refuse a families request. So, inside I went, inside we went, about 40 of us. What an honor...

We found a place and stood again for about an hour. Funny thing was, I forgot about my knees. Mrs. Hensel, a bride of 8 months, had come up to speak by the time we got situated. During her elegy she confessed to still checking her e-mail with anticipation of a message from Shawn and the crushing dismay as once again the reality of these days hit her with renewed force.

As the service was ending we quietly filed out and resumed out positions outside. The family filed out and the Army Honor Guard came with the flag draped casket. Through the hushed silence a womans voice could be heard, “God NO, Please, no...”. Disbelief and denial instantly turn to harsh reality and a grieving mother cries. I am not as eloquent a writer as many of you, expressing in words the gravity and harshness of the moment escapes me. Suffice it to say, if you were there, seeing and hearing, you would have cried. God knows I did.

We again were honored to be invited to ride in the procession, through the city of Logansport, IN. The citizens of Logansport lined the streets, holding flags, holding “Thank You” signs and signs that said “God Bless the Hensel family”. Our numbers were just over 100, they numbered in the thousands. Walmart, Home Depot, Pizza Hut and others must have closed their doors for the procession. The streets in front of their stores were lined with employees, holing flags and signs.

The Logansport Fire Department honored Cpl. Hensel with 2 ladder trucks and a huge flag hanging over the street.

I remember riding by a woman standing with her husband, he holding a flag and her, leaning on him, hand over her mouth, visibly crying.

At the cemetery, words were said, rifles were fired, a flag was folded. A life has ended.

However true that may be, Cpl. Shawn D. Hensel will not be forgotten.

A Story
Faces of The Fallen


Jan said... expressed it eloquently. It brought tears to my eyes. What an honor for you, your buddies, and all of the others who were privilieged to take part in this final tribute to a fallen hero.

Kat said...

I know...I KNOW how you feel.... The airport escorts I've done... one, a mother screaming over and over and over, "MY BABY! MY BABY!!!" and one, a widow's heartwrenching sobs/screams and agonized apologies to his family, feeling that somehow this was all her fault, while loved ones tried to comfort her....

Dude, I SO know what you mean. And, knowing exactly how you must be feeling, here's some extra (((hugs))) for heart (and eyes) cry along with yours. Just know that in the hour of their deepest despair...they know that they are loved and that their loved one is and always will be respected, honored, and remembered by people from all walks of life...even total strangers. (((hugs)))

DC Sporty said...

Amen Brother. Your words take me back in time. Again it is impossible to see clearly! The city of Logansport IN will forever be held in high regard through my eyes. They were simply great.

Dirk_Star said...

This is why the war must end.

Too many families are losing too many sons and daughters.

Even the Republicans are turning against the debacle...

It has been too long with too little results.

DNR said...

Jan - Thanks, it truly is our honor.

Kat - And (((hugs))) for you to my friend.

DC - I'll never forget. Thanks for being there with me.

Dirk - Yes, when there is peace in the middle east and all peoples can live free.