The Marine

Mama Liberty's picture

On April 01, 2010, I attended the funeral for USMC Lance Corporal Jacob Allen Ross, 19 years old, married just 6 months, killed in action in Afghanistan... the son of one of our FSW members.

Thousands, all across Wyoming, had come out to the route to honor this young man on Wednesday as he was brought from the airport to Gillette. Every possible FSW member was there in Gillette (along with many hundreds of others).

Lots of bitter thoughts about the murder of our brightest and most promising young people this way... lots of thoughts and much still to process.

One remarkable thing: I was only a few feet away during the funeral - and saw the governor of Wyoming get down on his knees to present a flag to the 18 year old grieving widow. Then he did the same to present one to the boy's mother, and then to his father. He had walked in with many other people, without any sort of guard, and there were no state troopers outside at any time. He sat just a few rows ahead of me, just like an ordinary person. (I actually shook his hand as we left the church.) Amazing... this is a Democrat with a very poor record for supporting liberty in Wyoming. And he didn't go up to speak either (that I remember)... but the family had asked Boston (founder of FSW) to say a few words. What he said was most inspiring.

The streets of Gillette were lined with people who watched, with hands on their hearts, as the funeral procession - nearly a mile long - drove slowly through town to the cemetery. Many of the police, firemen and EMT's doing extra duty to route traffic, stood with a salute, hand on heart, or just solemn expressions. All this took place in a serious snowstorm...

I was doing pretty well until - at the graveside - I remembered that this very day day in 1986 - 24 years ago... I buried my husband Joe, retired Navy. It hit me when the Marine honor guard folded the flag on the coffin and gave that to the widow. I was crying almost as hard as she was. I'm so glad my FSW "boys" were with me. Amazing to think that April 1st is also my Wyoming anniversary - that's when I moved into this house.

Ying and yang... always. I have a new appreciation for a great many things today...

What a day.

Life-affirming

Strange, isn’t it, how grief, sympathy and genuine good will can come together in death while it often hides itself from the living. Some variety of people at that funeral might be “enemies,” philosophically-speaking, but for a short time the death of one man brought them all together. In that sense you might say that death became life-affirming.