Traveling home, a fallen soldiers journey-picture by Keith Ladage

This is a story of travel, but not like my usual stories of travel, this is the story of how local citizens honored Petty Officer 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer on his way back home to Decatur, Illinois.  Officer Palmer was one of the 10 sailors originally reported missing after the collision between the USS John S. McCain and an oil tanker.  On Sunday,  Navy and Marine Corps divers had recovered the remains of all 10, and on Friday afternoon, September 8th, his body was transported from St. Louis back home.

That though, is not the end of the story.  All along I-55, every overhead from St. Louis to Decatur Illinois, had  police, fire fighters, boy scouts and citizens of flanking the highway and lining  the overheads waving flags in Officer Palmer’s honor.  On the overhead near our farm, a contingent of Virden and Divernon firemen and a few children and parents plus my husband and I saluted the motorcade as it traveled past.  I was so touched standing in the shadow of the firefighter who held the American flag standing on the front  of the fire engine.  His flag was waving in the air, he eyes were on the highway scene below, and all hands were in salute.

I can’t comprehend the sadness of losing a child.  I know this solider was a man, but as a mother of a son in his early 30’s I know his mother though proud of the man he was, still considers him her baby, just like I would.  She must be comforted though by the outpouring of compassion and patriotism this young man brought to the Illinois heartland as we all came together to mourn his passing and celebrate his life and thank those that take up the flag to fight for our freedom.

Whoever thought of this tribute, hats off.  I can only claim to be one that heard about it through the grapevine and was blessed to be a part of it.

God Bless the family of Petty Officer 3rd Class Logan Stephen Palmer and all those in the armed services that wear the uniforms of the police and firefighters that protect us. Officer Palmer has traveled home, a journey we will long remember.