Thursday, March 17

A night I will never forget


 There I was in a car with its flashers on driving down the streets of O’Fallon, IL, a town I have never been too.  As I looked out the window, I could see hundreds of people standing on the side of the road. They had all come to pay their respects to man that given his life for them.  There were thousands of them, watching this procession .They had placed thousands of American Flags along the road and many were saluting as we drove by. It was dark by the time we made it into town but you could still see the sorrow and tears that filled most of their faces.   
I had only met him once, but once is enough to know this man deserved the honor he was given that night in O’Fallon, IL.
Tears keep falling down my face.  All I could think was these people did not have to be here. They did not have to be standing on the side of the road on a Friday night. Did they not have better things to be doing? Then with the tears still rolling down my red face I realized they all wanted to be here. To us he was a son, a brother, a nephew, a cousin and a friend but to them Zac Cuddeback was a stranger.  



They came because Zac had fought not only for the freedom of the people he knew but for all these strangers. They came to pay respects to a family whose soldier had paid the ultimate price.
It was a night that made me proud to be an American. A night that reassured me people still believe in this country and our military.  It was a night that reassured me that no matter what, my dad, my brother, my Tom did the right thing by serving for our freedom. 

 I will never forget this night. I will remember it as a night Americans showed their true colors. A night that it was okay that my twin brother was on active duty. A night that it was okay my father had missed so many dance routines, sports game, and birthdays.  A night that it was okay that Tom would be leaving me for years.
This night is a night that I will tell for a long time to come, not only to preserve Zac’s memory but  preserve the grace of Americans. 




Here is news article that show the support we received:
http://www.kplr11.com/news/ktvi-airmens-remains-return-from-frankfurt-airport-shooting-20110311,0,752881.story?track=rss

To Zac:
I wish you could have been there, to see the support this community gave to your family. All of the flags, the 300+patriot guard members and the thousands of strangers, all there to show they cared about what you had given. I know you would have loved it. The car your mom and Tim got to drive was awesome. They say driving it is like sitting in an airplanes cockpit. Can you believe the dealership let them take a 2011 BMW M3 (your favorite car) off the lock without having to pay a thing? Crazy I know. Thank you for fighting for my freedom. I am grateful that I got to meet you and that we got to share a few drinks together.  Can we make a little promise? Will you promise to be Tom's angel when he goes over seas. You see he is so excited to be fight not only for our countries name but also for you name now. Promise me you'll keep those baby blue eyes on him.




(I wish I had pictures that would show just how many people came out to show support but in that moment I would could not take pictures. There were over 300+ patriot guard that came out to show support and between 5000-10,000 people that stood on the street to show their respects to this fallen solider.)

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