Honor, remember our heroes

  • Published
  • By Joseph A. (Al) Ryan Jr.
  • DISC Denver Engineering Team
I am a contractor supporting the DCGS Integration Support Contract (DISC) effort for the 950 Electronic Systems Group.

I had the distinct honor Nov. 18, to honor one of our fallen heroes. The remains of a Massachusetts Soldier were brought home through Hanscom Air Force Base on that day. It has become a somber tradition for base personnel to turn out and line the road from the base operations/flight line area to the gate. I was among hundreds of people who gathered on this crisp autumn morning to pay my respects to a Soldier who made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the price for our freedom.

As the procession started by with motorcycle escorts from the Massachusetts State Police, local police departments and the civilian Patriot Guard Riders, it served to underscore the importance of our efforts to support the Warfighter and brought immediacy to the danger our Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen face each day. The hearse, limousines, and many private vehicles carrying friends and family members served as a painful reminder that every casualty number seen in the news has an intense personal element to so many people.

As we go about our everyday work on our contracts designed to protect our forces from harm, we would be well served to remember this day. When the office politics get us frustrated, we should remember those who stand "at the guard" defending our ability to rage against the system. When our flight runs an hour late or the rental car isn't as nice as we would like, we should remember that Humvees and tanks and F-16s are the chariots that these brave men and women mount each day. When we're forced to go in early or work late to meet a deadline or attend yet another conference call, we should remember our heroes, every one of them, who has left the security of home and family to protect the life and liberties that we love. We should remember.

Finally, I'd like to salute the citizens of Hanscom who made a simple effort to go stand by the side of the road to honor a young man who paid the ultimate price. Each individual's contribution was small, but the sum of the parts became an incredible outpouring of honor and respect.

My perspective and my life were changed on that day. It is my sincere hope that these words will make us all stop and think about the incredible tasks our men and women in uniform carry out each day and ensure that our actions as civilians and contractors honor their service and their sacrifice.