And praying that when answering the knock at the door, there are not two officers with sad faces, preparing to utter those words none of us wish to here.
But some families have paid that high price. They have opened the door. They have made funeral arrangements. They have recieved that folded flag from a grateful nation.
There are some many of these stories. I have written so many cards and to a grieving wife, mother, sister. I have cried over the phone with a grieving father.
And I remember some many of the pictures.
After the flowers die and the years pass, I still remember the faces, the stories of those who gave their own for my freedom.
Knowing, there but by the grace of G-d it could me, pressing that flag that once draped the coffin of my son. Or my husband.
One such story was caught by the cameria of John Moore.
Mr. Moore recorded the heartbreaking image of Mary McHugh at the grave of her fiance Sgt. James John Regan at Arlington National Cemetery. Sgt. Regan was killed by an IED in Iraq, Feburay 2007. The picture was taken May 27, 2007.
I was reading online about Mary's tribute to her beloved. I am sure there wasn't a dry eye as she shared her heart.
“Jimmy was a hero to many, but he was always very humble,” she said of her beloved. “He always sought team success and not personal glory.”
Sgt. Regan McHugh, had planned to return as a medical student at Emory University, when his Army service ended.
But he was killed in February 2007 by a roadside bomb in Iraq.
Sgt. Regan was an All-American larcross player. He was also a All-State football scholar at Chaminade High School in Mineola. He had graducated from Duke University five years ago.
Like many americans, Sgt Regan was deeply affected the Terror Attack of 9/11. The Attack claimed many lives in Manhasset. He even turned down a position at financial services firm UBS and deferred a scholarship to Southern Methodist University Law School to join the Army in 2004.
He had earned a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.
“Jimmy and I were so excited to stand up in front of God, our family and friends and declare our love for each other,” Mary said. ”Only God knows why we were deprived of that opportunity, but it doesn’t change the sentiments I have.”
After reading a love letter he had written to her, Mary said in a passionate whisper, “Jimmy, we never got to wake up next to each other every morning. Jimmy, I will wake up every morning and thank God for the opportunity to love and be loved by you.”
Mary remembered her beloved as someone who always wore a smile and “simply wanted to be happy and make others around him happy.”
Sgt.Regan’s father, also named James, said his son did just that.
“Last week in Iraq the bell tolled for Jimbo and he gave the ultimate sacrifice,” the grieving father said. “You have done your duty, son, as you saw it. You are a wonderful son.”
Thank you Sgt. James John Regan for giving your all. May you rest in peace.
May G-d continine to comfort you, Miss Mary