Bearing witness

8 Aug

You’d better stop right there, sir. You’ve brought Chance home. You’re his witness now. Without a witness, they just disappear.                 Taking Chance (2009)

The flight from L.A. to Philadelphia also carried the remains of a fallen Marine home to his family.

The flight was full, and the Air stewards looked for volunteers to give up their seats, so that he could be brought home as quickly as possible. Just like in the movie.

You never think about how those who die fighting for their country get home. But it is nice to think that they are brought with as much dignity and respect as is humanly possible.

But, still you cry. For the life lost. For the family waiting. For the man in the belly of the plane, with the random detritus of life that people choose to stuff into suitcases and bring half way around the world with them.

Tears flow. But you have a small boy to entertain. And you need to keep him quiet for the minute of silence. So you bite back the tears as best you can. Only for the tears to start again at random points throughout the flight.

Journeys like this happen everyday. Without note.

As the film shows and I witnessed, people do take note. They cry for the fallen. They stop. They show their respect in whatever way they can.

I wanted to go up to the Marine sitting near us and thank him for chaperoning his fallen comrade on his way home to his family, but I couldn’t. My voice wouldn’t work.

My voice wouldn’t work.

But there needs to be witnesses.

And we do need to think of these things.

Or wars will continue to be started willy nilly.

And those who have sacrificed will have done so for nothing.



Shared with Sleep is for the Weak‘s Writing Workshop

4 Responses to “Bearing witness”

  1. Molly August 8, 2011 at 3:18 pm #

    Never a truer word was spoken…..war is cruel and horrible and good men and woman die fighting them….it would do some very powerful people good to always keep that in mind.


  2. Funky Wellies August 9, 2011 at 12:00 am #

    A very powerful, moving post… Made me stop and reflect for a few minutes.

  3. libertyfallsdown August 9, 2011 at 5:22 am #

    With all the riots in England at the moment, more people should stop and think about stuff like this – the sacrifices some make to keep their countries safe. Makes the fact that some choose to destroy their own cities even more shameful. Lovely post x

  4. Charlie August 13, 2011 at 7:34 pm #

    A very touching post! It had me stopping and trying to bite back the tears.

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: