It is a fact that most people in the country know or think little about the sacrifices our military and their families make in defense of all of us.
Our military and their families are bearing all of the responsibilities and all of the personal costs that such duties bring. They are doing it for each and every one of us and, for the most part, we will never know their names. But you will know this name; WO1 Shawn Thomas. This image of his family will remain with you, and it should.
There are no words in this video. And really, there are no words that would match the power of what you will see here. Simply listen. As you will see it was taken by a passenger on the airplane. The pilot had asked the passengers to remain seated while the flag-draped casket bearing the remains WO1 Shawn Thomas were being met by his wife and family.
WO1 Thomas died on February 2, 2017 while conducting advising operations against the terrorist group, Boko Haram, in the country of Niger. This video makes us witnesses, along with the passengers on that plane. It reminds us of the price that so many of our military servicemen and women and their families are paying to protect our freedom and the lives of countless innocent others around the world who are daily threatened by the perpetrators of terror.
If your heart aches as you watch this and hear the tears of the person taking the video (and it will), say a prayer or two for this fallen soldier, Shawn Thomas, and for his family. They have paid the ultimate price for our freedom.
Do not forget WO1 Shawn Thomas. Do not forget his family. If you know other Gold Star families, honor them with your respect and your care. They must not bear this loss alone. Often, all that they want is for someone to listen. They want to tell you who their sons and daughters were and how much they love and miss them. They know that there is nothing you can do to change the reality of their loss, but you can help them cope by just offering them your time and your ear.
These fallen warriors and their families are our family too. We owe them our care and concern. They have offered so much more for us.
Dan Doyle is a husband, father, grandfather, Vietnam veteran, and retired professor of Humanities at Seattle University. He taught 13 years at the high school level and 22 years at the university level. He spends his time now babysitting his granddaughter. He is a poet and a blogger as well. Dan holds an AA degree in English Literature, a BA in Comparative Literature, and an MA in Theology, and writes regularly for The Veterans Site Blog.