Guest Poster today; Husbandface.
The funeral for my nephew Capt. Ellery Ray Wallace, 33, was held in Big Spring, Texas on Sept. 7th, 2010. Ray was killed when a rocket-propelled grenade struck his armored vehicle in Afghanistan on August 29, 2010. Services were held at a church then the funeral procession drove the cemetery some 5.2 miles on the other side of town. As family and friends made their way to their cars to join the funeral procession, it began to rain quite heavily. Despite the heavy rain (which was heavy enough to limit visibility) the 5 mile route from the church to the cemetery was lined with hundreds of individuals holding flags. Most of them did not have umbrellas or raincoats and were soaked to the bone within minutes. They stood there, patiently enduring the rain and cold, many of them having no previous knowledge of the funeral or the route the procession would take. There were gas station attendants and mechanics who dropped what they were doing to stand at the curb and salute or place their hand over their hearts. There were business owners in suites, women in dresses. There were individuals who had pulled over on the side of the road and exited the dry warmth of their vehicles to reverence the fallen soldier. There were countless dozens from the VA Hospital, somberly saluting. It seemed like every bank, every store, every restaurant had emptied out into the rain. Every city employee, from the sanitation worker to the office administrator seemed to line the street as car after car of the funeral procession splashed water on them. There was no flinching, no cursing. Only respect. Ray hadn’t lived in Big Spring for almost 20 years, so 99% of these people were complete and total strangers to him and to us. But on that day, they were family.