Back in 2004, I went to work for a little homeschool bookstore here in town. They sold curriculum and offered enrichment classes. I had the opportunity over the next4-5 years to meet possibly hundreds of kids. Most of them came and went with very little interaction, some I still see from time to time and a select few leave a lasting memory.
Lucas was one of them.
Last Saturday afternoon, I had learned of his death. He was killed in Iraq two days shy of his 22nd birthday. My heart broke and I cried through the weekend. I hadn't seen him in more than three years but he had made such an impression on me that it felt like just yesterday.
As news spread of his death, I learned so much more about him. Lucas was an avid hunter and fisherman; he loved the outdoors and he loved the Lord. He was a leader to those around him and was always looking to help his fellow man in any way possible. He signed up for the Army as soon as he was able and when he should have been home with his family, he volunteered for deployment.
I remember the last time I had seen him. He had just come back from what I guess was basic training and he came to the book store. He looked so handsome in his dress uniform and he was proud to wear it. I was so excited to see him - you see, he was probably the MOST polite young man I had ever met. He was personable and would do anything that asked, and he would do it with a smile. When he walked through that door I just about fell over at the sight of him. So handsome. So proud. He came over and picked me up in a big ol' bear hug and spun me around.
I felt honored that he even thought of me enough to stop by and say hello.
This morning I went to his memorial. This amazing young man, with blue eyes and dimples that would make anyone envy, is gone. As I drove up to the church, American flags lined the road. I prayed that there would be no protestors. There was an amazing show of support by one motorcycle organization (I wish I remembered their name!) who lined the driveway all the way to the church's front door, each member holding an American Flag. There were hundreds of people there.
Because this boy touched so many lives. He was amazing. He was beautiful. He loved his country, he loved his family, he was born to serve. He made us all proud.
I had never been to a military funeral and it was someone awe inspiring to watch. The show of support; the number of people who came who probably never met Lucas. It must have eased some of the hurt that his parents and young bride were feeling.
I can't remember the last time I cried so hard. R.I.P. Lucas...I'm so proud of you.
To see more about Lucas, you can click the news coverage HERE.