Thursday, August 28, 2008
Friday, August 22, 2008
I sat by Carrie Emmons tonight as they honored Blair and Matthew at Matthew's 'former' class's assignment night. They had a moment of silence for them, introduced us, and rang the bell in honor of their fallen commrades and our husbands. As I sat there, my heart broke for Carrie. She held her 3 week old baby, Laban Matthew, in her arms and just wept. It was rivoting and pitiful and made me sick to think of all that they missed out on as a couple and as an Air Force pilot. Matthew will never know the success of seeing a fighter pop onto that screen tonight, he'll never know the joy and terror of flying a fighter into battle, he will never know the joy of dropping bombs and firing the pickle button to shack, he will never know the pride of a squadron at Hawgsmoke, he will never know the sheer joy of holding his baby boy, he will never see another wedding anniversary. Yes, his joy is much greater now but Blair knew all of these things and so much more. He lived the ultimate dream for a pilot, father, and husband on this earth. I sat there beside her thanking my God for what I did know and what Blair so valiantly experienced everyday. How unmatched are your blessings upon me!! Thank you sweet Jesus for what I had and have today in this moment.
So amongst the craziness of school starting back, we are finally in the groove of a new year and that is honestly refreshing. Davis and Campbell both began at Fairview Baptist Church's Mom's Day Out this past week. Campbell is now a crawler almost walker and is into everything. She loves Davis so much and just needs to be where he is. She said some of her first real words in the last two weeks. 'Mama' and 'Bye-Bye' were the first two and if she is anything like me the others won't be far behind. She is changing everyday and has so much going on in her head, not to mention the teeth that keep popping out and interrupting her sweet sleep.
Davis and I just returned from the beach and had a great time with friends. It was a treat to be with just him and spend time playing in the sand and surf. He loves the beach and everything about it. We ate hibachi one night and he thought Ratatouille was under the chef's hat. Japan and France -you know they are so similar to a 2 year old. So funny! He had his first scooter ride this week as well and did quite well. He's a little slow but we love our new 'neighborhood' hand me down. We call ourselves the 'Palmer Home (our local orphanage that has a thrift store) of Hunnigton' because all of the neighbors pass on their outgrown awesome toys to us. What a treat for Davis and for me!!
Pray for Carrie this week. She is in Columbus for 2 weeks and will attend the class graduation. She is struggling because she loved the Air Force life and everything about it. She misses this love and bond that we share here and she is so far removed fromit because she is in Pennsylvania. God give her strength to be the best mom sweet Laban could ask for. Give her a hope and a future that she cannot even imagine. He did for me, He'll do it again, and He will for her!!
Sunday, August 3, 2008
They began by saying that definitively and 100% positively that Matthew and Blair died immediately and did not suffer in any way. A relief for us all.... The sequence of events began upon takeoff and 3.6 seconds later it was over and they had met their Maker. So, you can imagine that time frame as an eternity in some ways but honestly just a blink in others.
The wings on airplanes have flaps that raise up and down and they are called ailerons. Basically, the right aileron failed causing the plane to roll to the left and making it impossible for Blair to recover into a normal takeoff sequence. He initially corrected but in this critical phase of flight it could not be saved. The plane struck the ground upside down and slid off the runway where it burst into flames. According to our brief, all the flight controls indicated that Blair told Matthew to eject and upon the ejection initiation the plane was rolling too fast and Matthew's trajectory was amiss. Blair stayed with the plane trying to recover with a hard right stick and rudder but to no avail. You and I both know he was trying to save it with all he had after Matthew ejected. Blair impacted the ground and died instantly without the ability to eject properly upside down. The plane tilted in the skid off the runway and Blair basically was thrown from the plane at that moment of the tilt due to the seat seperation sequence for the ejection seat.
This is the basis of 500 page report we received. The report is thorough beyond your wildest imagination, has testimonies from everyone who had any chance of seeing it happen or did see it happen, and is a comforting but yet a piercing document of epic proportions for our family that was given to us today. We are grateful for the detail because it is such a blessing to read the testimonies of the first people on the scene, the men and women that flew with Blair, and to see the 'big picture' of it all.
So, what do I think? I'm beyond proud of Blair's heroism. He died knowing that he did everything he could to lay down his life for his brother. I know Blair, he was the 'daddy' in charge of that jet and that 'son' was gettin' out if it was the last thing he did. "Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.' John 15:14. He did it---no doubt in my mind. I am so unbelievably grateful that I can tell my children that their daddy died a hero. He is the epitome of the word. I am blessed that they have that kind of heritage to remember and reflect on when the going seems so tough. Thank you Jesus for giving me this story of exteme intrepidation. He is my 'Braveheart' and the greatest earthly super hero my children could ever ask for. WHAT A GIFT!
Honestly, today has been brutally painful and truly nauseating in some regards. The reenactment of it all has given us some missing links into our own closure. I truly feel like all day I was reminded that Christ is in control and no matter what this report says-the end is still the same and HE is still on the throne. Intense focus on that one thing is all I can do from here on out. It is a requirement for my own survival and that is just honestly the way I HAVE to view this whole process. We are blessed to have the detailed information, the promise of the Air Force to prevent this again, and the love of a country for Blair's selfless service to keep us all safe.
And by the way, Campbell's crawling. WHAT?? She is loving her new freedom and I am astonished at the difference in Campbell and Davis on the whole 'movement' thing. No comparisons! Here's a video and notice Davis's crawling 'debut' --so typical.:)