Thursday, November 12, 2009

Specialist Aaron Aamot...A Hero Comes Home

Today the oversized American flag that flies in our front yard is at half-staff. Specialist Aaron Aamot’s body was returned to Ferndale, WA today to be laid to rest. Aaron is from Custer WA and attended Ferndale schools. Ferndale is just south of Custer both are small towns, just like so many other little towns dotted across the USA who have suffered a loss of their local heroes.

You see the news on TV, read it in the newspaper, it comes across the internet, and it is not until you are standing in a crowded street, no one is talking, it’s cold but no one is leaving, and everyone is waiting for a hearse to pass by, that it all hits home.

Friends who started Whatcom Homefront, that sends care packages to soldiers in war zones sent me an email and asked that I send it out to all my friends, which I promptly did. Then our local Harley-Davidson dealer gave permission to send the email to our Harley Owners Group which we did. We posted it on our chapter Facebook page and our chapter blog. A simple request, line the streets with people holding an American flag and signs to show support for the family and honor this young man who lost his life serving his country.

Waiting silently on the sidewalk in the cold crisp autumn air an Alaska Airlines plane circled overhead to line up for landing. This must be Aaron’s flight home. And then the unexpected, the Alaska Airlines plane circled Ferndale one more time before landing. Aaron’s last salute to his home town and those waiting to honor him.

Tears streamed down the solemn faces of those standing quietly holding American flags as the hearse finally passed by proceeded by a van with the color guard inside. Then the family drove by in multiple vehicles, and you could see the pain on their faces and their tear streaked cheeks as they looked out at the crowd who were watching them.

Young children, grandparents, and every age in between, people who didn’t even know Aaron or his family, but we all came to honor this young man who gave all for his country. Retired and active military personnel saluted as the hearse drove by; a WWII Marine in his dress uniform stood at attention with his flag and a sign.

I didn’t know the family. I didn’t need to know them to stand and hold a flag in his honor. When the motorcade procession was over people began to drift away from Main Street, stopping in front of the funeral home to place flowers in a make shift memorial and leaving their flags in a large garden pot by the door as they walked by.

May God bless this family and heal their breaking hearts from the sadness and grief.

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