Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Sean Jacobs Returns Home

I'd gone to the airport to rent a car, and I knew someone was coming home when I spotted the Patriot Guard Riders lined up, starting about a mile from the airport.

Sean Jacobs was his name. He graduated from local Foothill High School in 2006, and graduated from West Point in 2010. He deployed to Afghanistan in April of this year, and returned home on August 6. Sean was a U.S. Army 1st lieutenant when he died.

I learned all of that when I got out of my car to ask about the returning soldier. I stood next to a retired couple, and the wife filled me in.

Most of the Patriot Guard Riders mounted up on their motorcycles and followed the hearse, but as I walked back across the street, I saw one guy standing next to his bike, weeping. He was a mountain of a guy, and wore a Vietnam veteran patch. I felt like I had to say something to him, but all I could manage was "thanks." He offered his hand, and tried to say something. He took a deep breath, and finally said, "He was an only child."

I felt like I'd been punched in the gut. I saw Dylan's face, and wondered what Sean looked like at the same age. I walked to my car and sat inside, pretty much going to pieces.

I heard the mountain man crank his Harley, so I gathered myself, started the car, and followed him out toward Highway 44. For a few miles, I had his back.


Debby said...

"For a few miles, I had his back" For some reason that made me cry.

Bob said...

Me too.

RIP Sean.

And thanks.

Annie Bakaleinikoff said...

Made me cry, too. Just like last night, at the Squadron Meeting for Civil Air Patrol. The boys on color guard pulled that flag all the way to the top, then dropped it to half-staff. Most of these boys and girls cannot wait to join the military when they are old enough. Trying my hardest to stay at attention, my shoulders were quivering.

Anonymous said...

It is my opinion that the majority of the current generation going to govern us soon has no idea what "had his back" means. War to them is a video game that has no casualties, it is not the war i remember. Last time i saw a funeral procession i was astounded that people stopped by the honor guard were upset about GETTING to wait for the people grieving. I do use the word getting because the one leading the parade gave his/her life to allow them to be angry. Thanks for "having is back". Russell

Bob said...

Makes me cry too.

RIP Sean.

And thanks.

Mary Paddock said...

Hal, I don't know how I missed this one.

He took a deep breath, and finally said, "He was an only child."

Aww hell . . . I'm ready for young men to stop dying overseas.

quid said...

Only 24. 2 years younger than my youngest. How sad, how much this defeats me sometimes.