In a world where life is cheap, America never gives up on the lost.
At a time when deadly flooding in Europe, a surge in coronavirus cases among the unvaccinated and the latest political finger-pointing dominated the news, most people didn’t hear about Airman 2nd Class Edward J. Miller’s trek home last weekend.
But the homecoming said more about America, and Rock County, than all the rest.
Airman Miller, who hailed from Evansville in northern Rock County, was lost along with the entire crew aboard a military flight that crashed into an Alaskan glacier in 1952. Few places are more remote than a lonely glacier in the wilderness of Alaska.
Among the many things that make America great, though, is the commitment to leave no one behind. The nation never gives up on those who are missing in service to their country. That’s why, though it’s not an everyday occurrence, it also is not uncommon for stories to appear about the remains of missing service men and women being located, identified and returned home from remote locations all over the planet.
Airman Miller’s remains and memorial service were supposed to take place last year, but the pandemic intervened. Finally, with full military escort and a large honor guard to accompany him home, the airman was interred Saturday at Maple Hill Cemetery in Evansville.
The flag draped over his coffin was presented to his sister, Dorothy Wheaton. Across Wisconsin, flags were at half-staff in his honor.
Home at last.
In many places across this troubled planet life is cheap. Sentimentality is for suckers. Heroes are disposable.
First and foremost, the return of A2C Edward J. Miller affords the opportunity for his family and friends to close a chapter with pride and dignity.
Moreover, though, it proves for the rest of us that the American military -- and the American people -- are different in a cold and often uncaring world.
We remember, with honor. Always.