Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Thank you for showing support for soldier, family
The Crossroads has lost one of its bravest sons. On April 15, Army Spc. Kerry Danyluk, 27, of Yoakum, died after sustaining injuries in an exchange of small arms fire in Afghanistan on April 12.
Danyluk's death was a sobering reminder of the realities of war and military service, but it also showed us an amazing side to the Crossroads in the midst of this terrible loss.
When residents of the region learned that Danyluk's body would be returned and services would take place in Victoria, people immediately took action. Veterans groups and others came together to honor Danyluk's sacrifice through a moving display of support from the moment his body arrived at the Victoria Regional Airport on Wednesday.
As Danyluk's remains were transported from the airport to Grace Funeral Home, more than 100 people lined the route, many of them holding American flags, Texas flags, service flags with the Army emblem, yellow balloons and more. Members of the Patriot Guard Riders escorted the hearse along with police and fire department vehicles, and the people who came out stood by showing reverence and respect for a fallen warrior.
That scene was repeated Friday morning when Danyluk's body was transported from Grace Funeral Home to Faith Family Church for funeral services. Veterans groups asked residents to come out and show their support by holding American flags. Some businesses along the route passed out flags to people who came to pay their respects, and the Victoria Police Department and the Patriot Guard Riders once again served as escorts in the procession.
Knowing that another brave American soldier has died overseas is heartbreaking, and we offer our condolences to Danyluk's family in this difficult time. It is a stark reminder that while many of us are comfortable at home, there are still men and women serving overseas, putting themselves in harm's way to defend our country. It is something we should all remember, and we are grateful for the sacrifices these brave men and women have made and are making to preserve our freedom in these troubling times.
The community response to the return of Danyluk's body and the respect shown both to him and his family are wonderful expressions of solidarity and appreciation from residents of the Crossroads. We are proud to live in an area that places such high value on the lives and service of our men and women in uniform. As Danyluk is laid to rest, we know that this love for members of the military is an ingrained part of our community, and any veteran who comes home will receive a warm welcome.
Thank you to everyone who came out to show their support and gratitude this week. The men and women in our military are amazing people who are willing to put their lives on the line every day to serve our country. We should never forget their dedication and sacrifices. Thank you for showing Danyluk's family that they are not alone. And most of all, thank you to Army Spc. Kerry Danyluk for everything he has done. His sacrifice will be remembered.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.