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There seems to be a tight kinship between our military folks and police officers that was not so apparent (to me anyway) during other military conflicts in my lifetime. Maybe its because of 9-11. Anyway, this tribute by the New York State Troopers to a fallen military hero is heartwarming. ---------------------------------------------------


:flg: A Fallen Hero Comes Home- Police Provide Escort :flg:
> >
> > Thu, 01 May 2003 17:44:15-0400
> >
> > Please take the time to read the email below. It is a great, true
> story. The letter was written by Senior Investigator Jack Graham of
> the New York State Police to fellow members of the NY State Police and to the
> Syracuse Police who, on April 17, 2003, participated in a hastily
> planned ceremonial escort for a soldier killed in Iraq. Feel free to
> pass this on. These are the kinds of stories that make us proud to be an
American.
> >
> > The abbreviation "SP", means "State Police", and it refers to a
station. For instance, SP Loudonville, NY.
> >
> > On Thursday, April 17, 2003 you participated in an escort detail
> for GREGORY P. HUXLEY JR who was killed in action in Iraq on April 6,
> 2003. On behalf of the entire Huxley family and from me, personally, I
> want to say "Thank you very much." Your professionalism, dedication
> and sincerity meant so much to the Huxley family, that words cannot describe their
> feelings at this time.
> >
> > What most did not know was that the US Army had promised the
> family members that they would be taken to Dover, Delaware to be
> present when their son arrived from Iraq and there would be a full military ceremony in
> Dover for GREGORY. Unfortunately, there was a communication problem
> and they were not present during that ceremony.
> >
> > Then they were informed that the body of their son was being flown
> to Syracuse and that the funeral director could pick up the "fallen
> soldier" at the cargo area of the airport and that somebody would help them remove
> the casket from the cardboard shipping container for
> > transport to Boonville, NY.
> >
> > The funeral director felt that unacceptable for a nineteen year
> old young man that gave his life for this country and for the freedom
> of so many others. As a family friend he contacted me to see if anything could be
done. We now had six hours before GREGORY arrived in Syracuse.
> >
> > Phone calls were made to SP North Syracuse and SGT Nick Harmatiuk
> took over from there. What you participated in and observed the rest
> of that day was truly an outstanding display of what this agency can do in very
> short time.
> >
> > What happened was just visually and emotionally overwhelming.
> >
> > The procession left SP North Syracuse led by eight Syracuse PD
> motorcycles, followed by the hearse, four cars with family members and
> followed by ten State Police and Syracuse PD cars. How ironic it was
> that when the procession was traveling parallel to the runway, the plane
> > carrying GREGORY landed next to it. We were able to enter the
> planes cargo area and remove the shipping crate from the casket and
> drape the American flag over the casket. When the casket traveled down
> the conveyor belt, fifteen New York State Troopers and the same amount
> of Syracuse Policemen lined the path to the awaiting hearse-all at
> attention. A hand salute was executed as six State Troopers proudly
> bore the flag draped coffin to the hearse. After a short prayer, the
> family was given some time to welcome their son home.
> >
> > The entire airport was so quiet. I looked up at the concourse
> windows and saw a hundred or more people. They were all standing,
> watching, with their hands over their hearts, saluting a young man
> that they did not
know.
> Somehow they learned that a fallen soldier had come home and they
> wanted to honor his sacrifice.
> >
> > The casket was then placed in the hearse and the procession left
> the airport in the same fashion as we arrived, only this time with a
> young hero that our hearts will never forget.
> >
> > The motorcade was escorted to the thruway entrance by the Syracuse
> Police Department's motorcycles. All traffic was stopped for the
procession
> and we headed east towards Boonville. After getting off the thruway,
> we found that every intersection that the procession encountered was
controlled by State Troopers, allowing us a safe, unimpeded passage. At each
> intersection, the State Trooper stood at attention, saluting the
> fallen soldier and his family, giving him and his family the respect
> that they deserved. How emotional that was to see and now to reflect on.
> >
> > When entering the Village of Boonville, the main street was
> decorated with an infinite number of American Flags and yellow
> ribbons. As we approached the center of town, all of the church bells
> began to peal at once recognizing and saluting Gregory's arrival. Hundreds of people

holding American flags lined the street, some with their hand over their heart > and some

weeping for GREGORY for what he sacrificed, for us and his
> country. As we drove by the village park, the National Anthem was being played,
> for GREGORY, and I think, for all of us.
> >
> > At the funeral home, eight veterans lifted the casket out of the
hearse and into the home with the family. GREGORY had returned home.
> >
> > GREGORY'S family said to me later that the images I have just
described will always be etched in their hearts, forever. But the one memory
> that will always be there first, was of the State Troopers at the airport,
> standing at attention, saluting, with tears running down their cheeks for their
> son, a fallen soldier. A hero whom those Troopers never personally knew.
> >
> > Our jobs take many different avenues in life. We hope that during
> our day or shift that we have made a difference, a positive
> contribution. On this occasion you did just that. An entire family
> knows that you cared to do your very best to honor their son. Their words

and expressions told me just that. We made a difference yesterday, and we did it well.
> >
> > The rewards we receive for details like this one do not come from
> anywhere but from the heart. Take pride in what you accomplished,
> because It was distinct and without equal in this Trooper's eye. I have had so
> many good things happen since I have been a State Trooper, but in
> those twenty four years, I have never been more proud of the New York
> State Police as I was yesterday- A fallen soldier, a hero, a son, a
> brother has finally come home, in grand deserving style, thanks to all of
you.
> >
> > Jack Graham
> > Senior Investigator
> > New York State Police
>
 

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Thanks for sharing... touching story!
 
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