In honor of President Barack Hussein Obama, 44th President of the United States of America
Flights of the Fallen continue to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. A river of the fallen has been transported to and then from that place; the river at times has been swift and deep and at others slow and shallow, but always unending.
Two administrations believed that Americans would want to avert their eyes from the planes landing and from details in dress uniform slow marching flag draped coffins onto tarmac. I believe we must watch, and hold these families and their loved ones in our thoughts and regard for as long as the flames burn at places such as Arlington. We may now watch and media representatives may be present (if the families permit).
After a Flight of the Fallen, a new President stood solemn vigil as eighteen coffins were unloaded from a plane flown from Afghanistan one early morning in late October 2009.
At Dover, an architecture of grief and healing, solace and comfort is being built. Near a mortuary center with its foyer and reflecting pool, a newly built Center for Families of the Fallen takes shape. Ground has been broken for a meditation pavilion, suites of rooms for several families, and a garden. In short, a sanctuary is taking shape – a place where families and pride and grief may collect, pool, and well over.
This, then, is a way station on the journey to hallowed ground at Arlington, or to another national cemetery in a Soldier’s state, a cemetery in a Marine’s city, or to a family plot in a Sailor’s home town, or to a niche in an Airman’s home.
Still, even at this moment a Flight of the Fallen may be landing. The loved one might be a mother or a father, a son or a daughter, an uncle or a niece, an aunt or a nephew.
The inconsolable gather in the garden of returning heroes to celebrate this life and to prepare for witnessing this return.