Saturday, May 27, 2017

Hometown Hero

Five years ago, they had a memorial service in Dasher, Georgia to honor the young man pictured above. Seven years ago, my nephew Seth came home to the States following a year long deployment in Afghanistan. His family had prayed for his safe return and our prayers were answered.  Not every family is so blessed. On May 26, 2012, they honored Adam McSween at his alma mater with words and tears and by naming a highway after him. The following, from April 16, 2007 is about this soldier whose family still grieves.
Adam McSween was killed ten days ago in Iraq. I never met him but we were connected by times and places. Our paths never crossed but we knew the same people. We walked the same hallways and sat in the same classrooms. Until last week, I had not heard of Adam and I doubt he ever heard of me. There are infinite numbers of communities to live in and schools to be part of. We just happened to share some common denominators. Adam was born in Valdosta, Georgia and graduated from Georgia Christian School where I learned the ropes of coaching and teaching. We worshiped at the same congregation and the preacher quoted in his Georgia obituary married a young lady I had several dates with. After high school, Adam moved to York, Nebraska where I grew up. He attended York College as I did and we both represented the school athletically, he in track and I in baseball/basketball. He met Erin Hammitt at York, the romance resulting in marriage and two young daughters, ages five and two. The Navy called and Adam enlisted. Part of an Explosive Ordinance team, he and two others in his unit died April 6 when an IED (improvised explosive device) struck their Humvee. Petty Officer Joseph Adam McSween was twenty-six years old.

I had a paper route when I was a kid. One of my subscribers lived adjacent to Greenwood Cemetery. In the summers, I would ride my bike through this resting place, only five blocks from my house. Tomorrow, Adam McSween will be interred in the same piece of land where some of my friends are buried. The young couple had decided York, their adopted hometown, would become the location for the family plot. The town has embraced them. When Adam's body returned by jet last week, Nebraskans, young and old, stood roadside to pay their respects as the hearse made its way from the airport. The service tomorrow will be at the York City Auditorium while flags fly at half staff throughout town. York College will close in honor of its alumnus and citizens will line the way on the one mile journey from the Auditorium to the cemetery. Small towns have a way of doing it right.

I wish I could say I had known Adam but I left Georgia Christian School and York College long before he enrolled in either institution. Those blessed to be his friends rave about him. Ironically, he died on April 6, the calendar date this year that Good Friday fell on. In his obituary in the York News-Times, the words of Jesus from John 15:13 are quoted:

"Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends."
For his military bravery, Adam will be awarded the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, and the Combat Action Ribbon. For his life as a Christian and family man, Adam will receive eternal comfort with his Savior. Rest in peace, Adam McSween.

Applicable quote of the day:
"I think of a hero as someone who understands the degree of responsibility that comes with his freedom."
Bob Dylan

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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1 comment:

Bev said...

Thanks for this post regarding Adam, I'll pass your site onto his mother, I know it will mean the world that others are thinking of him and his sacrifice. XO