Our small town in the East Bay here in the San Francisco Bay Area has lost one of its own. It hit hard. A young man who just graduated from our local high school in 2010 lost his life in Afghanistan. There was a memorial today with a procession from one end of our little downtown to the mortuary.
We didn't know this young man, we didn't know his family or any of his friends. We only met his face on Friday during the lighting of Danville's Old Oak Tree when the people who knew him asked for our support. I still don't know how I can possibly support them except to hold space for their grief. I do understand the pain of losing a child, its the least I can do.
Beyond that, to teach my daughter about the gravity of war, the seriousness and expense of duty to country we walked down from our house to the mortuary. To show our support we just held the space for their son's passing from across the street and I let Lex just ask me questions and start to get the slightest realization of what it all meant.
Afterwards, the owner of this car came over to give Lexee a picture and to pet the little dog. It turns out that Ray & Jeanette come out to support families of the military, police and fire. He himself is a POW and together they feel passionately about taking care of those who serve.
Both he and his wife said that our town was the best they've seen when it comes to supporting their military veterans. They gave us a photo of the Angel Warrior, LCPL Joshua "Chachi" Corral. They said he was 5'6" 135lbs and worth his weight in gold. I'm sharing that photo here:
On our walk home Alexia mused, if our soldiers are going to give their lives for our country the least we can do is take care of it while they're gone. I think she's right.
Rest in Peace, Josh. Information on the memorial service and further services is here.