Fam­i­lies of the Fallen

Serve Daily - - LIBERTY SHALL BE MAINTAINED - Sub­mit­ted by Steve Hen­line

We gath­ered on the beau­ti­ful shores of Lake Pow­ell to pay trib­ute to four fam­i­lies whose fa­thers and sons had given their life’s dur­ing ser­vice to our coun­try. The fam­i­lies of the fallen war­riors came aboard first, per­haps filled with some trep­i­da­tion, none knew one an­other. None knew what to ex­pect.

The big house­boat was quickly loaded with pro­vi­sions for the ad­ven­ture that was about to un­fold be­fore them. Gear safely stowed, the house­boat left her moor­ing place at Wah­weap Ma­rina and headed up the lake un­der the bril­liant desert sun.

Only the fam­i­lies of the fallen and the ves­sels cap­tain were aboard. A small flotilla of fish­ing and ski boats ac­com­pa­nied them on their three hour jour­ney to the sandy beaches in Navajo canyon. The vis­tas are spec­tac­u­lar and soon all were on the top deck ad­mir­ing some of the most beau­ti­ful scenery in North Amer­ica. Sheer sand­stone cliffs rose from the wa­ter’s edge. Each mile some­thing new and mar­velous to wit­ness un­folded.

The boat se­curely an­chored, the ANG chap­lain of­fered a prayer, be­seech­ing Gods pro­tec­tion to those gath­ered to­gether here un­der the sheer walls of this breath­tak­ing canyon.

The next three days were filled with boat­ing, fish­ing, jet ski­ing and all of the myr­iad of ac­tiv­i­ties this mag­nif­i­cent lake can pro­vide. Each morn­ing the vol­un­teers ar­rived, a small flotilla of ski and fish­ing boats there only to share and thank these fam­i­lies for their sac­ri­fice. For many of us, these were life chang­ing mo­ments. We mourned their loss, shared their tears and laugh­ter and a new fam­ily was born at this gath­er­ing.

Each night on the beach the fam­i­lies would build a bon­fire with gath­ered drift­wood and talk to­gether about their com­mon ex­pe­ri­ences and share their loss. It is our hope that this was a cathar­sis and will help them through their mourn­ing. To those of us who have never lost a child or a fa­ther in ser­vice can never un­der­stand their loss and empti­ness. We can, how­ever, hope that our ef­forts help even if in a small way will help.

Amongst the vol­un­teers were bat­tle hard­ened wounded war­riors, a mil­i­tary Chap­lain, staff mem­bers from the Army’s Ser­vice to Sur­vivors or­ga­ni­za­tion, an Out­door tele­vi­sion show host, Staff mem­bers of Hand in hand Out­door’s Amer­i­can Heroes Project and oth­ers, all bound to­gether to share our re­spect and love to those who have given so much and to as­sure them that their chil­dren and their fa­thers did not die in vain and will not be for­got­ten .

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