I am sitting in my home away from home, Panera Bread. The traffic outside is all jerky bumpers and tire shrieks. A bummy dude with an expensive laptop sprawls a seat five feet from me. I finish reading this moving post on the Marine Corps and continue my duck hunt through the web for interesting stories to share. Posts, articles, pictures that capture me, waiting for me to do the same to them.
Then this story waves at me and I know I have to salute a great hero:
A Marine who died from a roadside bomb in Afghanistan was awarded the highest honor given to members of the Corps for his heroic actions as he hurled his body into a fellow serviceman and warned the rest of the his squad of the blast.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said Tuesday that 20-year-old Lance Cpl. Donald Hogan is “now part of Marine lore along with the great heroes of the Corps” as he presented the fallen hero’s parents with the Navy Cross. He said his actions placed him among the “bravest and finest” in the Marines.
Thank you Lance Corporal. I can’t say much else. Other than, this chokes me up:
Hogan spotted a kite string on the road go taut in Taliban territory, a sign that a roadside bomb was about to go off. He flew into action, hurling his body into a fellow Marine and then running to the road to yell a warning to the rest of his squad before the blast killed him.
Hogan had wanted to join the Marine Corps since he was a young boy.
His father, Jim Hogan, said he was always proud of his son for following in the footsteps of his father, a Marine veteran of three wars from World War II to Vietnam. Speaking at the morning ceremony, Hogan thanked the Marine Corps for helping his son fulfill his lifelong dream.
“We will always be grateful,” Jim Hogan said.
Grace in action, both the son and the parents.
And then two thoughts filter in simultaneously. 1) I want to tell this shifty bum next to me to sit up and read of Lance Corporal Donald Hogan’s heroics. It cannot be but inspiring. And 2) I silently promise that if I am ever given the opportunity to assist a family, a wife, parents, kids, any relative of any of our fallen heroes, that I would do anything within my power. Gladly. Cut their lawn, tutor them in geometry, walk their dog. Yes, this and more. May God show me the way if it is to be. That is all.