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Another Kind of Homecoming

This blog has been an outlet for me mentally as I have dealt with quite the journey with Kaydence Grace. Today however, I have to take a moment to ponder another person who has been on my mind for a little over a week now. I didn't personally know Sgt. Wade D. Wilson. I am friends with his amazing mother, and his extraordinary sister is one of my most favorite kids to work with. She also babysits my kids and they love her. I'm sure that most of you reading this actually have seen everything about him on Facebook. If you haven't, then I have to share this amazing story.

Sgt. Wilson was killed in action on May 11, 2012, in Afghanistan. Apparently his particular unit of Marines were out when they came under attack. Some of his fellow Marines were without cover, so to protect them, he drew attention to himself, and he was mortally wounded. Because of his actions, two others are alive and recovering in a hospital as I write this. How amazing Wade was to risk, and ultimately sacrifice, his life for his friends. That is loyalty and dedication people.

After I received the news while in Fredericksburg for a family wedding, I immediately texted his mother and sister. I told Cindy that I had no words, but we loved them and we would do whatever they needed. Tommy and I really had to take this in. You see, Tommy's brother died in a car wreck 14 years ago on May 9. It was Mother's Day. As much as you want to celebrate that day, it's pretty hard to watch the family during this time each year. I wasn't in the family yet, but I see the pain there and it does affect me, and even my children. So, with this family, I grieve because I know each year, Mother's Day will be a bittersweet day. The pain is not so fresh, but it is still there. Parents just aren't supposed to outlive their kids. I cannot imagine the way it would feel to be at Dover to wait for my son to come home, right at Mother's Day, from overseas, in a Flag-draped casket. I have always respected Cindy as a mother and now I watch her with awe. I truly hope that I can do at least half as good a job raising my kids as she has hers.

The one thing I knew about Sgt. Wade Wilson was that he was quite the character. (I honestly think it goes with the name Wade!) So, in the event of his death, he has become larger than life and I know that he would love everything that has transpired this past week. He was brought home to an airport in Conroe where a large crowd awaited him. The Patriot Guard Riders were there with flags flying surrounding the area where the plane was being unloaded. A group of Marines moved the casket from the plane to a hearse and the long line of escorts, family and friends drove Sgt. Wade Wilson home to Centerville. The I-45 was shut down. Flags were flown from overpasses. People lowered their flags. People stopped to pay respect to the fallen Marine. As they all came into town, the streets were lined with his people waving flags and holding banners. It is the way anyone would want to be welcomed home - in life or death. It is the way we should welcome home EVERY MAN and WOMAN WHO COMES HOME from serving in any war. Wade had a homecoming and service that was fit for a president. I, personally, waited with the Kindergarten class. The entire school district was there. I have never seen so many people out, yet so quiet. Amazingly quiet. One Kindergartner kept wanting to cheer - you can't blame him, it was a parade to him - and his teacher tried to explain this wasn't really the kind of thing to cheer about. Inside, I cheered a bittersweet cheer because I knew from speaking with Cindy that they were ready to bring him home and had to wait a full week and that was hard. I also cannot imagine what it would be like to never bring your son or daughter home from a war as many have not. There is a certain amount of relief and closure with the return of your child's body.

His funeral drew well over 1,000 people. It was standing room only. I was so thankful to be able to hold Kaydence in my arms at his funeral. My Wade - it's really hard to say your own child's name in a sentence about death by the way, it makes you stop and think - bought our favorite babysitter a Ring Pop to make her feel better. Wade can drive me so crazy, but he thinks of others so sweetly. The graveside service was so beautiful. The Patriot Guard Riders were concerned with me and Kaydence standing in the sun, so they waved me over to stand in the shade with them. One of them also let my Wade help hold her Flag. I thought that was pretty special, to bear a Flag for a true hero. I appreciate the dedication of the Patriot Guard Riders. I also appreciate the Marines who were there. It was touching to see emotional men in uniform. They loved their fallen brother. They were moved by his death realizing that it could have been any one of them and this could be any one of their family members accepting the flag or hearing the guns, or crying during Taps.

Sgt. Wade D. Wilson's family also received phone calls from Taylor Swift (who sent flowers as well) and Kid Rock. You can google the YouTube video about the fallen Marine. His fellow Marine reaches out to Taylor Swift for her to somehow recognize his friend, who slept with a picture of her by his bed in Afghanistan. Somewhere out there is also a great photo of Sgt. Wilson with his poster of Taylor - it's too funny.

If you'd like to do something in honor and remembrance of this Marine, there are scholarship accounts through Wells Fargo and Citizens Bank in Centerville. You can also donate to St. Jude's.

I just keep thinking on something Cindy said to me - that patriotism is still alive! She has been so overwhelmed. It's great to see that people still believe in the United States of America. We are blessed to live here. Even if we don't agree in political views, we are free to disagree. We are free to go anywhere we want. We are free to go to school and get a free education. We are free to worship how we want. We are free because of young men and women like Sgt. Wade D. Wilson. You can disagree with this war, but you should still support the troops because they believe in what they are doing. And we don't all know what is really going on over there. We don't see what they see. We don't know the dangers they are protecting our complaining selves from. Just because you don't see it, doesn't mean the danger isn't right there and believe it or not, there are people all over the world who want to see the USA gone. To see us serving them. To see us suffer. To see us die. Thank God for our troops!

I think about what I've heard about war time during Vietnam. Those poor kids were drafted to go and so many didn't come home. Many of those that did were treated horribly by their own people upon their return home. How awful. But some will still defend their actions by saying we shouldn't have been there. Who cares! You should still support the troops - same then as now. It makes me just sad to think not every kid who gives their life so freely is not welcomed home as Sgt. Wade D. Wilson was. Those folks are brave. We should make an effort all across America to welcome home our Troops the way Wade was - in life or in death.

So I know many people will think that his death was in vain, or pointless. Some will always say this was a tragedy God shouldn't have let happen. Let me tell you we are all created by God for His glory and I know that Wade Wilson, the mischievious boy from Leona/Centerville turned Marine Hero, has touched many lives through his death. We should only hope to reach others the way he has and we should live each day to reach others for Christ and as if each day is our last.


  1. Wendy, that was so beautiful and well said!!! Our love and prayers go out to Wade Wilson's family and friends! I know he is celebrating in Heaven. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of Wes Neyland and his beautiful family! My son Lance Story won the Wes Neyland memorial calf roping saddle in the Ctyra several years ago. It has always been and always will be displayed proudly on our stair case in our home! Wes was one of a kind as is his entire family. We love the Neylands. We are so happy that your and Tommy's beautiful Kaydence Grace is home with her beautiful family!


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