This past week was filled with a somber overtone for many many miles around here. When this story broke on national news, I had no idea how close to home it would hit! On September 21st, a helicopter crash in Afghanistan claimed the life of a local hero along with 8 others.
39 year old Lt. Col. Robert F. Baldwin had just left for his 4th tour a week prior. He leaves behind a wife and 4 children ages 8 - 7 months old. His parents live in a small community, Eliza, IL, 10 miles from me. A very close friend of the family is a very close friend of mine.
I did not know the family personally, but alot of folks here did and it hit hard. Devastated many!
In honor of his service and ultimately giving his life for our country, Lt. Col. Baldwin will be buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Virginia.
One man, from the area, Larry Eckhart from Little York, IL (actually 30 miles away) came to honor Rob by bringing these flags. They were 4 ft. flags that were placed every 20 feet for 1 1/2 miles lining both sides of the road going to the community center where they had a memorial service and time of fellowship and food with Rob's parents, Gary and Cherie Baldwin.
I can not stress enough how awesome this sight was. Flags waving in the wind for 3 days. Just enough wind to keep them waving and beautiful autumn sunshine . I drove up this road when I first heard about the display and sat in my car and cried. This was the closest I have ever been to something so moving and heart wrenching.
My neighbor called and asked if I would be able to help take down the flags the day after the memorial and I could not pass up the opportunity to do something. So last Friday, I went and walked the 1 1/2 miles pulling up the flags and rolling them up. It seemed to be the best hour I had spent in a long time, just thinking of the experience and praying for the family and other families who have lost loved ones.
This is something I will never forget!
It reads on this trailer, TODAY A SOLDIER I DID NOT KNOW, DIED SO I COULD BE FREE
Some how a "thank you" just doesn't seem like enough.
So support our armed forces any way that you can.