On June 5, 2011, CW2 Bradley Gaudet died in Afghanistan due to a helicopter crash. Sadly, over the last few months, I had forgotten just how powerful and truly debilitating the sting of death in combat can be. Because we have been hearing about service men and women being killed in action on the television, in the paper, or on the internet somewhere for over a decade, we can sometimes be numb to the implications of such a loss. Today I implore you to resist the temptation to become desensitized to said news. With each name called on a killed in action (KIA) list comes radical implications such as family members that are left behind, brothers in arms that must deal with the loss, and a world that is negative one of its bravest. I do not think that anyone reading this will deny the gratitude that is due a fallen member of the military or the debt each of us owe.
Unlike many others, this country understands the importance of placing immense value on remembering and honoring its fallen heros. We have several holidays set aside for honoring our past and present guardians of freedom. We, both individually and collectively, refuse to forget the ones who have given so much for us to walk in peace across a nation that is free from oppression. We are a free land because fathers, mothers, brothers, sisters, sons, and daughters paid the price of freedom in blood. I am proud to be apart of a people whose value system includes honoring those that pay the price.
One look into the face of a wife who’s marriage has been cut short because her husband refused to sit at home and watch a war on CNN that affects his home and his family reveals a staggering pain that most of us will never understand. It is the kind of pain that buckles knees and devastates lives. A quick glance in the eyes of a child who is starting to realize his or her daddy will not be coming home shows the kind of turmoil that is lifelong. It does not go away. From the time this family wakes in the morning to the time they go to bed at night, they face the daunting task of living life without the person who helped make them all a family. The head of the household has been taken away prematurely. People, we cannot imagine what that is like, but there is one small thing we can do, and that is never forget the sacrifice that was paid.
As Chief Gaudet’s family lays him to rest with Jesus this weekend think about the sacrifice that his family has paid and the effect that it will have for years to come.