Then something happened that stilled us all.
A Hurst followed by a limousine and about 10 other vehicles came out of Fort Sill. It was a funeral procession... it was a soldier.
Now, I have seen MANY funeral processions having lived across the street or down the street from a cemetery 3 times in my life for a total of about 12 years. But this time the feeling was different as I watched and observed the people around me in the other cars.
When the funeral procession passed the police officer let us go. It so happened we got behind them because they were headed out the same way we were... there is a veteran's cemetery out the way we live. This is where things got really amazing. The procession was going about 50 on a 70 mph highway. They all stayed in the slow lane, their lights all flashing, but no one dared to pass them. All the vehicles behind us slowed in respect for the procession. Not only that, but the people on the OTHER side of the highway pulled over to the side as the procession passed. Total and complete respect and honor like I have never seen. It was sobering, to say the least.
Then they got off at my exit too (I could have gotten off at the next but then I would have to pay the toll and I have the worst luck at the toll pay thing and it hardly ever takes my change... I would rather go the longer way). I followed the procession and as I watched once again, people pulling off the road, tears started falling down my cheeks as a beautiful rendition of silent night came on the radio. Even my kids were quiet as we watched.
We didn't know the soldier who had given the ultimate sacrifice... but he or she did it for us. Me and you and our children. And that deserves the greatest honors. It angers me when people disrespect the men and women in the armed forces. They aren't perfect, they are people, they make mistakes, but they have something not many have... courage. Less than 1% of our population serves. They don't do it because they love war. That is the biggest lie out there! They do it because they love peace. They love this country and their families, and they are willing to give their lives for it.
So this Christmas, I challenge you to think of them every time you say "Merry Christmas." It's because of them that we CAN say that, or even celebrate the season. Or when you put up your nativity or light up that cross on your house. Think of them while you are celebrating Hanukkah or however you choose to celebrate this season -- and don't take that for granted.
I did not know that soldier they buried today in the snow. But he or she was was loved very much by someone, and their life mattered. And today, their death taught me something about myself and of the people of Oklahoma -- and made my petty issues seem so small. So tonight, I hold my boys a little closer and hug my husband a little longer and feel blessed that I have them this Christmas, because who knows what the future holds in a world of uncertainty. My thoughts and prayers, today, go out to the family and friends of that name-less soldier. May they find comfort and peace this Christmas season.