Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Fallen Hero

Last weekend, I learned of the death of a young man from the small town in Washington, Colville, where I lived during a lot of my "growing up" years (age 9-16).

Sergeant First Class Wyatt Goldsmith, age 28, was on his third tour in Afghanistan when he was killed during a rocket-propelled grenade attack on his unit a little more than a week ago.  His remains were honorably transferred to his family yesterday and the largest funeral the town has seen in quite some time will occur this coming Tuesday.

Wyatt and his family moved to Colville in the later years of our time there and we only overlapped for about 2 or 3 years.  He was one of the few kids around my age that went to our church.  We once played in a brass quartet together during a Christmas Eve service.  On a couple occasions, he was a ski buddy on the slopes in the winter.  

Though our paths crossed often during those few years, I have to admit that I don't recall having thought about him at all in the last decade of my life.  Once we moved away, he wasn't someone with whom I kept in touch and his memory seemingly faded in my mind.

That all changed last weekend when I learned of his passing on Facebook.  Upon seeing his name just once, my memory was instantly tapped and I remembered everything.  Seeing his name flash across the screen so many times in the last week in other people's statuses or in news reports has been so sad but amazing at the same time.  Witnessing how that small community (just shy of 5,000 in population) has gathered around the Goldsmith family and each other is beautiful.  In that town, small children are being taught what a true American hero is, one of the last of many priceless gifts Wyatt gave his community and his nation.

Below is a short news clip about Wyatt and his hometown that loves him so much:

Thank you, Wyatt, for your sacrifice.  Rest in peace.

Keep It Real

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