Thursday, October 7, 2010

Small town boy...

I'm going to rattle around here for a while.  Just warning y'all.

I read an interesting thought yesterday.  It was an opinion about why people blog (or Tweet, or use The Facebook).  I won't go in to the opinion stated, but I've decided that I blog because of the relationships.  I'll swear, there are so many interesting, and kind, and decent, and clever, and funny, and caring folks that I'd have never run across had it not been for starting this Titanic of a glob.

Seriously!  Even though I've never met face to face very many of our regular visitors, nor the globbers that I read regularly, a real sense of friendship develops as you get to know the history, the families, the trials, struggles, and the victories that they/we share.

In truth, I've "virtually visited" on a much deeper level with many dozens of y'all through the e-mail than just commenting on a blog post will allow.  I appreciate that.  

One of those relationships (and one that I truly value) is our good buddy Paul The Fireguy.  Paul is retired from the AF, and a displaced Oregonian, toiling away puttin' out fires in the foreign land of Georgia.  Well, Georgia's not foreign to me, but I'm sure it is to somebody from Oregon.  Anyway, I got a computer letter from Paul yesterday, and it brought to mind many things.  One being that blogging has introduced me to some of the best of the best...people that really give a darn about others, and our beloved nation.

I'll quit rattling, and share just a piece of what he wrote:

We had a Navy guy from here in Thomasville, GA that got killed in Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago.  His funeral was last Friday and the town was amazing!  The funeral procession was about 5 miles from the high school where it was to the cemetery. The cars in the procession were bumper to bumper the whole length. What was really amazing was the people that were lined up on both sides of the road with flags the entire length of the procession route. It was indescribable!!

Someone in the procession made a video and posted it on you tube.  Search for it using Blake McClendon Funeral in Thomasville, GA.  The one video takes about 12 or 13 minutes.  Keep your kleenex handy!  Makes you proud to be an American.  We used fire engines to block intersections along the route. I was at a major highway exit ramp and when folks came up to find out what was goin on, everybody was cool, calm and collected and most of them stayed and saluted when the procession went by.  Amazing.

 So, I went searching, and got to be reminded why I love this nation, and just how special the folks in the small towns are...from sea to shining sea, episodes like this are repeated.  Too often, but repeated nonetheless.  Thomasville, GA has a population of roughly 19,000.  I've never been there, but I've been to towns just like it.  It's not tiny, but I'd call it small.

Thomasville lost one of its' best a few weeks ago.  Senior Chief Petty Officer Blake McClendon was killed in a helicopter crash in Southern Afghanistan.  God, what a handsome man, and from all accounts a true credit to his community, and our nation.

Senior Chief Petty Officer Blake McClendon

I found several videos on YouTube made in tribute to this fallen hero.  But, I finally settled on the one that Paul The Fireguy recommended.  The long one.

You might say, "well, it's nothing but just mile after mile of people holding flags."

That's the point.

There's some good music in there, too.

Rest in Peace, Blake.  You have my eternal gratitude.


  1. I'm just going to second Jim's comment.

  2. The last line from The Bridges at Toko-Ri always comes to my mind: "Where do we get such men?"

    RIP, Senior Chief McClendon.

  3. It was amazing standing at the intersection watching the procession go by. There are actually no words to describe that or the crowds lining the streets. You had to be there..........

  4. I'm always proud to be an American...sometimes I just lose faith in my fellow Americans. This makes me feel a little better. Thanks Andy.

  5. After spending the day working with 100 or so young Marines, this just gives me goosebumps. God rest CPO McClendon.

    And God bless small towns.

    Thank you for sharing this, Andy. We love you, too.


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