A Hometown Hero

First, the hundreds of people lining the streets, even though it was well after midnight. Then, the candles. Then, the Marines Hymn, carried over the crowd by a loudspeaker.

Then the American flag, lit up and suspended high in the air by two fire ladders.

Then the first flashing lights of the police escort.

Then the hearse, with a flag draped over the single casket.

Then the family.

Then the tears.

As I was standing on Main Street of my tiny little hometown at 2:00 AM, surrounded by hundreds of other people, I knew that I couldn't get out of bed this morning and write one of my usual light-hearted posts. I was there with my parents and Rick and countless other supporters to welcome home the body of Sgt. Trevor Cook, a 25 year-old Marine who was killed last Wednesday in a helicopter crash while training for his deployment to Afghanistan. He graduated from high school with Rick, and Aislinn, one of my best friends. I didn't know him well at all, but he was my age. He was married just a month ago.

I can only imagine the emotion his family must have felt to be seeing the same things I was seeing this morning on Main Street, but knowing that it was all there because of their son. I wish that Trevor, too, could have seen the tremendous outpouring of love and support from the community, and it tugs at my heart that the greatest amount of appreciation and respect is paid to our military men and women after they are no longer alive. I am guilty, myself, of not quite paying attention at the Memorial Day ceremony, and flipping the channel when news from the war comes on the television, and taking for granted the rights and freedoms that we have because of other men and women who, like Trevor, have lost their lives as they served our country.

T'was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.

Through many dangers, toils and snares
I have already come;
'Tis Grace that brought me safe thus far
and Grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me.
His word my hope secures.
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yea, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease,
I shall possess within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

Please join me in praying for Trevor's family and friends, that they will feel the peace and love of our Heavenly Father's arms around them, that His promise of an eternity of life and joy within the veil of Jesus Christ will comfort them in their time of grief. My heart aches for them, and I pray that good will come of this, that Trevor's loss of life will leave an enduring legacy, and serve as a reminder to everyone, including me, that we must not live expecting tomorrow, because we have no promise of that. We truly never know what a day will bring. Trevor is clearly not the first Marine to have lost his tomorrow, but for me, his loss of life has not just hit close to home: it has hit home. If I never again have to attend a military processional, I will, of course, be glad, but I feel blessed to have been able to experience that kind of outpouring of patriotism and pride. 

Thank you to all of the men and women who have served and continue to serve our country. 


  1. Great post. Thanks for speaking from your heart. My prayers go out to your community and Trevor's family. God bless.

  2. Wow. Praying for Trevor's family and his wife. It's hard to wrap my head around the sacrifice that our military and their families endure for the rest of us. Thanks for sharing a glimpse of it.

  3. What a beautiful tribute to our lost Hero Trevor. My dad is a retired Navy helicoptor pilot. I'm very aware of the scarifices our miltary families make every day so that I can enjoy the freedoms I often take for granted. Trevor's family made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. My prayers go out to them. Thank you for posting this.

  4. My thoughts and prayers are with Trevor and his family. I'm so sorry for their loss.

  5. Rachel7/18/2011

    I did over 300 military funerals ceremonies while on the Honor Guard in Fort Worth. A vast majority were vets and retirees that lived long lives after the military and passed away at a ripe old age but I think roughly ten were active duty members... of those ten I NEVER saw the amount of people or the out pour of support from the community. Adam and I went to the calling hours at 7:00 PM and the line was STILL wrapped around the church all the way to the back building. Calling hours were supposed to end at 8 but we didnt even make it to the casket until 8:30 and there was still a line out the door.

    Small towns...I hope that I am able to teach my future children the small town values and community feel while living in the city. Like I said to you when you, Aislinn and I were chatting at your house...our hometowns may lack entertainment at times but when stuff gets rough we definitely band together and take care of our own...

    RIP Trevor.

  6. So sad to lose such a young man doing his part for your country. Nice tribute that you've paid him.

  7. Beautiful post. Sending up a prayer for his family.

  8. This is the most beautiful and heartfelt post that I have read in a while...seriously, thank you for the reminder about our men and women that are risking and *giving* their lives in the service of their country and in the name of freedom. What a beautiful experience. My heart and prayers go out to that family

  9. Just when I thought I was done crying... what a great post Erin, thank you.

  10. Jen M.7/19/2011

    Just popped over from the Decor and the Dog post (a blog which I've only found a couple of weeks ago), and just had to say, what a beautifully and well written post - I am sorry for your loss, and the loss that his family has suffered, but thank you for the reminder to be grateful and humbled and that our freedom is paid for by our brave soldiers and military personnel. God bless them all!


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