Honoring the Fallen

Sometimes I forget very real possibilities that come from my husband’s line of work.

This morning I stood shoulder to shoulder with fellow military wives as we showed our respects to Army Specialist Mark Downer.

This hit too close to home. Downer was from Middle
Georgia, and before he transferred to the Army he worked in the same
squadron as my husband. He was killed in Afghanistan on August 5. Too close to home.

There were tears, and despite the blazing heat,
shivers traveled up and down our spines. With one hand covering our
hearts, and the other holding a flag, we paid our respects as the
Patriot Guard escorted Downer’s body and his family down the busiest
street in our town.

For a few minutes, the once-bustling street came to a
standstill, followed by silence. Then we heard the siren from one police
car, followed by blinking lights from more police cars. Motorcycles
zoomed past us; I vaguely remember hearing the buzz from their engines,
but I definitely saw their somber faces.

I felt compelled to take photos of the procession, because it’s something profound and something I think people need to see. I may be part of a military community, but I don’t see this every day—thank God—and I don’t know if they do processions like this in other towns. And as much as I hate to say this, before I married my husband, something like having a procession for a military member never crossed my mind.

I don’t know how many people lined the streets for this escort today, but I hope Downer’s family could feel the love. As one of my friends put it, if the roles were reversed, I would want the entire town standing along the street to pay respect to my husband.


  1. Lovely photos. I know a lot of bodies are brought to this base and then transferred to their burial places. There have been a few processions since we got stationed here and, while I've never been able to attend one, just reading about them in the base paper seems to hit close to home. Makes you hug your husband just a little tighter that night.

  2. Although your pictures were absolutely beautiful, they broke my heart. It must have been so hard for you to stand there and watch this.
    Please thank your husband for me for his service to our country and give him a big huge hug!

  3. I know this si something I seldom think about until it hits close to home, or a Marine at base is killed, or I go to the hospital and see wounded warriors. Your pictures are absolutely beautiful and I thank you for sharing them. Everyone needs to see pictures like this and remember those men and women who are giving their lives. Thank you for sharing his story, albeit a sad one.

  4. So touching and heartbreaking. The photos sent chills through my body. I'm so glad you were able to be there to support this family in their time of need.

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