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Forwarded from the Commanding Officer of Naval Base Coronado:

----- Original Message -----
Dear Capt. Lindsey,
This is the little piece I wrote following the procession from NASNI on Thursday afternoon.
Best,
Kel Casey
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Coronado is a Navy town. The Home of the Navy SEALS. There are few degrees of separation for most residents; those who aren't or weren't in the Navy know someone who is or was. We're a little island with a big military presence. Most, regardless of politics, embrace it with a sense of protective pride. We support our friends and families whose husbands or wives are on deployment. We rejoice when a ship comes home. We send "our" troops care packages and Girl Scout Cookies. We wait and worry when there's bad news. It may well be about someone we know-- a friend, a neighbor, the parent of a kid's best friend.

So maybe the remarkable response when the remains of fallen Petty Officer 1st Class Jesse Pittman arrived at North Island on Thursday shouldn't seem so remarkable. It's who we are and what we do.

Thursday afternoon at around 2:15 via texts and local social networks, this message went out:

"One of SEAL Team Five's fallen heroes will be arriving at NASNI at approximately 2:50.... There will be a procession leaving the base between 3:15 and 4:00. We will be meeting at 4th and Alameda to
show our respects. All are welcome. Please pass on."

And pass it on they did. Within 10 minutes that message had gone locally viral. By 2:45, a crowd had gathered at that intersection. Many were carrying flags. By 3:00, the crowd extended several blocks down 4th Street, with more gathering as the area schools let out. Moms told other moms at the school gate. Kids texted their classmates, neighbors called neighbors. They dropped what we were doing and they went. People driving off North Island from work or errands turned on to the nearest side street and walked to the curb. From all directions, they came.

We waited while the plane arrived and PO1 Pittman was met by his family and team mates. We waited until the last of the cars leaving base were out of sight. While all cross-traffic from Alameda past Orange Avenue was stopped. McCain Boulevard was empty and quiet. More families and individuals arrived along the route, with all heads turned toward the main gate. The MPs, too, looked down McCain Blvd, watching. The collective "we" waited with a combined sense of anticipation and abject sorrow.

At 3:25, flashing lights appeared down McCain Boulevard. Someone said "they're coming." A single police motorcycle passed through the gate with lights and siren. We gathered our collective breath as the remaining motorcade, escorted by the Patriot Guard Riders, passed. In the single, unforgettable minute during which the escorts, hearse, and family passed, those gathered were silent. They waved their flags, saluted, put a hand to a heart, and cried.

Most didn't know the name of the fallen man, and it didn't really matter. What mattered was what he represented, and what he sacrificed. What mattered was getting there, to stand together, to show respect and appreciation. To say "thank you". The moment, and the hour that led up to it, was, literally, breathtaking. It was beautiful and wrenching. That so many would gather so quickly with one intention-- to pay tribute to a fallen man and his family-- seems extraordinary. But in that hour nobody thought about that. The extraordinary thing is that a young man, one of "ours", died for his country, and he was coming home. So somebody sent a message to come. We did. Coronado did. It was the least we could do for a man who did so much for us.

Video - http://www.ecoronado.com/video/procession-for-seal-team-5-fallen-hero

Another story - http://www.ecoronado.com/profiles/blogs/fallen-warrior-procession-photos-words-by-dana-neibert


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Thank You for your service Petty Officer 1st Class Pittman!!!!! May you Rest In Peace!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
 
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