"Over a year ago, I volunteered to escort the remains of Marines killed in Iraq should the need arise. The military provides a uniformed escort for all casualties to ensure they are delivered safely to the next of kin and are treated with dignity and respect along the way." -- Lt. Col. Michael R. Strobl
Last night, I viewed an HBO movie called Taking Chance. I've seen many war movies that left me in various states of emotional and mental conflict. This particular film has no action sequences depicting the horrors of war. Any action having taken place in Iraq has been described by fellow Marines and friends of Private First Class Chance Phelps, killed in action outside Baghdad.
What touched me as events unfolded was the honor, respect, and dignity afforded those fallen in battle. During the deceased's entire journey home, he was accompanied by a uniformed escort. The remains were slow saluted at each move from one conveyance of transport to another. Workers and others along the route -- at airports and on whatever path the fallen took -- would stop and put their hands over their hearts. Many were crying, asking the escort to pass on their heartfelt sympathy to the bereaved family. Ordinary citizens knew; they didn't need to ask.
My heart is still lodged in my throat . . .