Tonight Erica and I went to a candlelight vigil in nearby Danville. The vigil was honouring the life of a Danville-born marine who was killed recently in Afghanistan. We joined Erica’s family there to mark our respects. We didn’t know him and we don’t know his family, but we felt like it was the right thing to do to join the vigil.

I had never been to a candlelight vigil before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. We drove down to Oak Hill Park in Danville where we saw a crowd of around three or four hundred people had gathered. The crowd was diverse; fellow service men and women, students, couples, young children, and a precession of what looked like bikers holding American flags. We were handed a candle and a local pastor started the ceremony. He talked about this young man’s life, his service to his country, and this tremendous loss to his family. We heard some tearful words from his brother who shared that faith was helping him and his family with their grief.

The pastor talked about the darkness that had fallen upon this local community and asked the crowd to light their candles. Suddenly the once dark park was awash with light. I could see the tearful onlookers marking their respects. While saddening, the sense of local support and emotion was heartening, and I hope it provided comfort to his family.

It is all too easy in our busy lives, surrounded by work, the Internet, television, and other distractions to see these sacrifices made by the brave men and women in the armed forces as just another casualty of war of someone we don’t know. I suspect the majority of people who joined us there tonight didn’t know this young man either.

Well, he was called Lance Cpl. Joshua D. Corral and he was 19. I wish I had got to meet him.

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