Our View: A weekend for heroes: Strength lives in legacy
For David, his family and those who knew him, that line of duty was familiar ground: sacrifice to others.
David died a hero as the navigator aboard an aircraft tasked with an N.C. Air National Guard's mission to fight wildfires: A crash following a flight from Charlotte to Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colo., while combatting fires in the Rocky Mountain region, claimed David's life. Three fellow crew members also lost their lives in that crash, and two others are seriously injured.
Heroes, each of them — and each worthy of the salute given to David on Saturday, as hundreds of people joined in tribute at the Holmes Convocation Center.
The North Carolina National Guard is an all-volunteer force of almost 12,000 soldiers and airmen. Unique among military branches, the men and women of the National Guard can be called upon to serve in both federal and state service.
As he always did — and as he did previously for a decade in the Air Force — David answered when that call came. Sadly, this time that answer was measured by an ultimate sacrifice, a sacrifice any member of our armed forces could be called upon to make at any time.
David leaves behind a wife and an infant son who will need a hero's strength to cope with their loss. That strength is at hand — in the legacy and example of a husband and father who gave everything in a fight to save others he would never meet, and a battle against nature he chose to combat in service to our nation.