Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wootton Bassett: A Two Part Lesson

Part One

Wooton Bassett is a town of 12,000 located 80 miles east of London.

The town is near the air base RAF Lyneham.

When British fallen soldiers return home, they are flown into RAF Lyneham.

They are then carried by hearse to another location for preparation before they are returned to their families for burial.

The hearses travel thru the center of Wooton Bassett.

Spontaneously, the town began to honor their fallen heroes.

No one planned it. No emails were sent. No schedules posted.

As the hearses enter the town, the bell of the parish church begins to ring.

And the town stops.

Silently, the people line the streets and pay their respects.

"It is a most strange feeling," says Sally Hardy, manager of the Sue Ryder charity shop. "When the bell from the parish church starts to toll and the police stop the traffic, there is just silence. It is a very unusual thing to find in a town. Just about everybody and anybody comes out. It makes me feel there but for the grace of God go my son and daughter."

"Sometimes, people have waited three hours in the rain to pay their respects," says Mayor Steve Bucknell. "These poor guys have no more time to give, so the least we can do is give our time."

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have cost the lives of thousands of heroes.

From the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Austalia, the Netherlands, Poland, Spain, and 20 other countries. Including the United States.

I don't know for sure, but I suspect there is a Wootton Bassett in each of those countries. I've seen how Canadians turn out in droves to show their respects. It is an amazing show of respect and support.

We'll never forget when Pete came home. He was flown into Addison Airport.

The hearse took him to Frisco.

All along the way, we saw families, store owners, policemen, firemen, retired folks, standing along Preston Road in silent honor.

Patriotism, respect, support for the military, and fighting and winning these wars is not just an American conversation.

Thank God for all of the Wootton Bassett's in this world.

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