Today was not a good day. It was emotionally draining. It was a day I hoped we would not have despite knowing the reality of our community & school's situation.
The crash of an Air Force CV-22 Osprey late Thursday night in the southeast region of Afghanistan (yes...very, very close to Brian's location) killed 4 service men - 2 of which were from Hurlburt Field. Those 2 service men were the fathers of 3 Choctaw HS students. This is the horrific kind of news that was delivered to us early this morning - moments before class began.
I was able to speak with Brian today (Sat) - his team has left their location and has safely made it to the next stop on route home to Florida. He told me that they were on the plane with the bodies that were being returned to their families. He said that it was an honor to be present on the ramp while the entire flightline operations halted as those individuals were prepared & transferred to the plane. He said it was the longest three hour flight as he thought of them as they lay drapped in an American flag just a few feet in front of them. I can't imagine the silence on the plane and the thoughts that filled everyone's head. Unknowing to Brian and the rest of them, 2 of those bodies were coming home to Hurlburt Field also.
Over the course of 11 years teaching, I have been dealt several blows of bad/sad/unexpected news that involved students, parents, and teachers - this is one of the worst. I don't know if I consider it to be one of the worst because it is the lose of a loved one's life involving a student I know quite well OR because it involves several of our students' loved ones. No matter - I can not begin to know what those 2 families are dealing with in this dark hour. I don't know how heart broken each of our students, their brothers & sisters, mothers and entire families are. At this moment I don't understand their grief - I can only understand the love that they have for their dad who will never be able to kiss them again, show them the love they have grown up with, attend their cross country meets, celebrate their high school graduation just weeks away, and tell them how proud they are of their sons or daughter. I am at a lose for words right now and my heart aches for each of these families. Please say a prayer tonight and for coming weeks that they are able to grieve together and find peace with this horrific situation.
A day like today makes me face the reality that this is very real; the sacrifice of our military loved ones is beyond enormous. Today hit way too close to home for me. My family is days away from our loved one returning after almost 8 long months away. I know that the reality of this devasting situation is just that... real... and it can happen. I'm just so numb that it did happen to several of our own. Please say many prayers for them.