On Wednesday I went to pay my respects and offer condolences to the family of 1st Lieutenant Jonathan Edds, a young man who lost his life in Iraq last week. The visitation was held at the building of the White Pigeon Church of Christ, a small country church in a little town of about 1500 people. Because of the nature of his death and the fact that he grew up in White Pigeon, as well as the fact that his father has been the minister of the church for nearly two decades, I expected there to be a lot of people there. But I was not prepared for what I saw. As I approached the building, I could see 20 or 30 American flags lined up along the roadway. The parking lot was totally full (people were parking in an adjacent field). The Patriot Guard Riders were there, motorcycles lined up in an impressive formation. These men (veterans themselves) formed a perimeter around the church building. They stood there holding flags, greeting people, opening doors, etc. Keep in mind that it was 90 degrees outside.
Inside the building, I’m guessing there were about 200 people snaked around the foyer and into the auditorium, waiting to greet the family. I waited for nearly an hour before I could say a word to Barry & Julie and their other sons, Joel & Josh (who are also serving in the military). As I exited the auditorium, it looked like the throng of people had doubled. The place was packed! I left, thanking the Patriot Guard for what they were doing. Driving into town I saw the flag at the VFW post at half-mast, with a message on the signboard recognizing John’s ultimate sacrifice. Flags were displayed all over town.
That day I saw Americans. Proud Americans. Loving Americans. Caring Americans. That’s my America!