Monday, June 25, 2012

Batteau Festival

A couple of weeks ago, we attended the James River Batteau festival here in Central Virginia. We went to watch the boats launch to start the 120 mile trip down the James River to Richmond. Batteaux are flat bottomed boats that were first used in the late 1600s. They were used extensively during colonial days. For the last 27 years, batteau enthusiasts have gathered in Central Virginia to travel the river in these boats. Who knew there were batteau enthusiasts out there? They even dress in period costumes!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Rest in Peace

I’ve sat down at least a dozen times to write this post. Each time I try, I have so many thoughts that they get all jumbled up and then I get emotional and have to walk away. So, please forgive me if this post is bit disjointed; I am writing it a few lines at a time. On June 6, a friend of ours, United States Army Captain Scott Pace, was flying a helicopter in Afghanistan when it was engaged by enemy fire and shot down. Scottie and the other pilot in the helicopter, First Lieutenant Mathew Fazzari, were both killed. Scottie is the first person I knew personally who has been killed in action. Sadly he is the latest addition to Husband’s ever-growing list of people he knew and served with who have died in service to their country. When I saw the news on Facebook, it didn’t register at first. Someone had posted a picture of Scottie, and underneath had written “R.I.P”. As what I was reading sunk in, I kept saying “No! No! No! No! Not Scottie!” With shaking hands, I quickly jumped over to his profile page and saw all the posts from friends expressing gratitude for his service and sadness at his passing. I sank to my knees as reality hit me and that's when the tears started to flow.

Scottie was roommates with Husband while we were dating. He was supposed to be a groomsman at our wedding in the spring of 2008, but ended up suddenly deployed to Iraq just weeks before Husband and I got married. The story of how Scottie ended up on this first deployment is a great example of what kind of guy he was. They were looking for someone to go over for some reason I can’t remember now, and it came down to Scottie and one other Soldier. I remember Scottie telling me that he volunteered to go because the other guy had a wife and kids and it seemed like the right thing to do. Who decides to put themselves in a war zone because “it seemed like the right thing to do”? Scottie did, because that was what he was like. What was significant about this selfless act was that his original unit was scheduled to deploy near the end of 2008. This meant that Scottie deployed months before his unit and then stayed in Iraq as his temporary unit went home and his original unit arrived. In other words, Scottie did back-to-back tours in Iraq. It was during this period that he was wounded during a rocket attack and received his first Purple Heart. Afghanistan was his third deployment. This Soldier shed blood for his country in two war zones. I don't know how much more you can ask from a man.

Scottie’s Facebook wall is covered with posts dedicated to him, and the posts keep coming. I'm not surprised to see those posts. Scottie had many friends. With his quick smile and kindness, you couldn’t help but like him. When I first met Scottie, I liked him immediately. How could I not? He was just that type of guy. He was a genuine all-around nice guy. He was a man of great faith. His love of God and his Saviour was apparent in everything he did. Husband says that the one word that best describes Scottie is “good”. He was a good Soldier. He was a good roommate. He was a good friend. He was a good example of humility, love, and kindness. He had a good heart. He was a good man. He was good. 

Scottie’s Kiowa helicopter was shot down on the anniversary of D-Day. He now joins the thousands of others who have paid the ultimate price for freedom and country. We have a lost a good man; a really, really good man. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Pace family at this time.  May we always remember that freedom isn’t free. Its cost is the lives of the men and women who bravely and willingly put themselves in harms way in order to make the world a better place. While we mourn Scottie’s passing here on Earth, Heaven rejoices at his arrival. Thank you for your service and sacrifice, Scottie. You will be missed by everyone who knew you and your great kindness. See you on the other side, my friend. Rest in peace.

Husband and Scottie in July of 2007.

Scottie in front of a Kiowa Helicopter in Afghanistan

At the time Scottie was shot down he was flying with another pilot, First Lieutenant Mathew Fazzari, who was also killed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as well.
"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." John 15:13

Sunday, June 3, 2012

They're baaaaaaaaaaaaack!

 Remember this post from last summer about the ginormous praying mantis that was trying to eat me? Well, apparently word got out that I am still around because yesterday this little one was hanging out on our door. He isn't nearly a large as the last one, but he is still creepy. He was still there this morning when I left for church, but he was gone when I got back. Pretty sure he has gone to round up some of his friends so they can take me out. It's only a matter of time before I open the door to a hoard of praying mantises, looking at me and licking their little lips.