Monday, April 25, 2016

"Coming Home"


It was bitterly cold on the rocky ridges of the Chosin Resevoir in that winter of 1950. Sergeant Wilson Meckley Jr., 31st Regimental Combat Team, Task Force Faith, U.S. Army, led his platoon up those rocky ridges.... when all hell broke loose. More than 120,000 Chinese Communists overwhelmed American forces on that day. 
And for the next 65 years no one knew the fate of Sergeant Wilson Mackley Jr. First declared Missing In Action, he was finally declared dead. But his family would know no closure over his death. 
Then, more than half a century later, the co-mingled remains of several of those long dead were returned to the United States. After pain staking DNA testing the the DNA Military Identification Laboratory was able to identify the remains of Sergeant Mackley.
A couple of weeks ago Sergeant Wilson Mackley Jr., who gave his life for his country at the tender age of 22, was buried with full honors at Arlington National Cemetery. His "then kid sister", now 81 years old, along with her family, were in attendance. 
As the color guard carefully folded the American flag that draped his casket, his sister sat in quiet reflection over the personal loss first felt 66 years ago. Upon receipt of the ceremonial flag, she rose from her seat, walked over to the casket, and placed a single red rose over the casket, and bid a final goodbye to her brother.
Wilson Meckley had at last come home. "Welcome Home, Sergeant Meckley." You may now rest peacefully with the tens of thousands of your comrades who now rest at Arlington. I hope you all sit around in that spiritual realm, around a campfire, your hands around a canteen cup of bad coffee, and find some comfort, some camaraderie in the commonality of your joint sacrifice in the cause of freedom.
"Welcome Home".

1 comment:

Ken said...

I feel like my stomach just got kicked in, all wind knocked out! What a moving story. Thank you, most belatedly, Sergeant Wilson Meckley Jr. for your service and your ultimate sacrifice for my freedom. Can you ever forgive me for the way I've abused your life and let this country you died for turn into the toilet it has and I haven't had the balls to take so much as a punch. I think that's the way I feel after reading your column today, ashamed. More ashamed than I've felt in some time at how I wasted the life of this good boy who....I'm sorry, I truly am and more ashamed than anything really. Thank you, Sergeant, and to your Sister, I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad you were finally reunited.