Yesterday was a very sad day in Middleville. It could have been Anytown, USA but yesterday Middleville really shined in my eyes! After retirement the hardest choices have to be made and certainly one of the top ones is where next? We came to Michigan for several reasons even though we had not lived in the area before. Two of our children were nearby and I found a job but as with a PCS there is settling into do. Yesterday we were "settled" and proud of it!
Cpl Nick Roush was buried yesterday by his parents and two brothers after being killed in Afghanistan. Actually a whole community of supporters helped bury him. Nick was brought home from Afghanistan by a fellow soldier and friend who cared for him deeply and told everyone that during the service. This service at his home church, Middleville First Baptist, was amazing. I have heard wonderful music before but this was at the top! The military community was there in support. I had the chance to talk to one young airman who was on leave in the middle of a PCS to Guam and attended even though he did not know Nick. He wanted to be there to show his respect as did Deb and I. About 40 years difference in age, almost two generations sharing the common goal to show respect.
The church saved front row seating for military members and the soldiers, led by their general sat ram rod straight respecting their loss. Nick was special to them all and it showed. But then after a brief welcome from the pastor, an elderly gentleman stood to speak. He spoke so eloquently about Nick's life. His words quickly revealed that this was his grandfather. No anger, just thoughtful words about Nick's life, beliefs and strengths! Impressive moments followed including one brother's lament and pain but thanking Nick for his leadership. Parents that held their weeping son who openly shared his loss with the audience showed a loving family that raised a child and gave him to their country to serve and protect us.
A small community, Middleville came out to show their respect too! 1500 folks attended the service and the streets were lined with flags. State police, county sheriff and police officers from nearby towns all led and guided the procession from the church. The fire department vehicles were everywhere in support! The local school buses transported the large crowd to the cemetery which had limited parking. I can not say enough thank yous to the Patriot Guard motorcycles who were in the procession and held flags around the church during the service. An amazing display of patriotism.
It made me proud to be part of this community! Yes all these communities! Nick's family of strong Christians; our family that encouraged me to attend even though I knew it would be painful and hard; our military community that showed it cared about Nick; our local community that poured out its warmth and efforts; and finally the Middleville First Baptist Church which just outdid itself in Christian love and compassion! Thank you all!
Finally, as Nick's grandfather said at the end of his wonderful comments, God Bless America!