Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Remembering SPC Ryan King

On May 1, 2009, SPC Ryan King and two others from his unit were killed in an attack. He and his new wife, Rachel were both serving in the Army and stationed in Afghanistan. They were scheduled to return in June. Ryan was 22 years old.

Ryan's mother attends Saint Mark UMC, and today she grieves the loss of her oldest son with her partner, her two children and Ryan's widow.

The funeral was scheduled for 11:00, and when I arrived at 10:00, the funeral home was packed. The Patriot Guard was present for support and protection against any protesters. The service was powerful and moving, and the question hovering in the room was, "Why, O Lord? Why?" We lifted our voices and sang "I'll Fly Away" and "Amazing Grace" with throats thick with sorrow.

After the service, the funeral procession began from Dallas,GA to the Georgia National Cemetery in Canton. For the duration of the 36 miles, a procession of motorcycles, limousines, police escorts and cars stretched for a mile past the hearse. It seemed that all of North Georgia had come out to pay their respects. Schools and businesses shut down. Marquees donned Ryan's name. Veterans knelt in sorrow on the side of the road. Flags were waved and tears were shed. Interstates were blocked, and overpasses were crowded with people pausing to remember. The trees of the field clapped their hands in mourning.

We are gathering for the interment now. In this sight, there is the amazing grace of God who sits with us as we weep.

My Chains are gone, I've been set free.
My God, My Savior has ransomed me.
And like a flood, his mercy reigns.
unending love, amazing 'Grace.
- Chris Tomlin, Amazing Grace (My Chains are Gone)

1 comment:

Candice said...

Thank you so much for the beautiful post.
The songs you sang mean so much to me, now more than ever before.
This difficult time has shown us the need for family and friends and more importantly church family.
A place where beliefs are shared, hugs abundant and no words are necessary.