Sunday, May 24, 2015

'The Way Home' Sculpture Explained

I've never been more closely entwined to a sculpture before.  Tomorrow is the unveiling of 'The Way Home,' dedicated to Cory Kosters and Zachary Endsley.  It will be at 4:00 in Town Green Park in The Woodlands.

We, too, remember that day. Cory Kosters was our oldest son's best friend.  They grew up together, going to Scouts, putting together serious potato guns.  I remember sweaty boys making forts, running around in the woods shooting each other with paintballs.  You have to have boys a certain age to remember the LAN gaming parties they would have, hefting their huge, three-part computers over to each others homes, snaking the cords to every outlet in the home until you had to mind your step so as to not trip, and just pray that your electrical system didn't blow.  Zach Endsley was also one of Chase's good friends, and I remember him at many of those crazy boy parties, eating us out of house and home.

The day we found Cory died was tough.  He was the first Texas soldier to die in Iraq.  Our funeral was protected and surrounded by bikers who specifically come to protect the funerals of soldiers from protesters.  They closed the highway completely for us and brought out all the firetrucks and police cars at every intersection.  Research Forest was lined with people all the way from our church, Crossroads Baptist, at Cochran's Crossing, all the way to the highway.  The bikers rode with us, big flags flying, and protected the service at the grave site as well.  It was a long funeral.  A long drive.  A long ceremony.  A long day.

 Two months later when Zach died was even tougher.  When soldiers die, there is a very wide swath of pain.  Our oldest son, Chase was changed that day; it hurt him very deeply. This funeral was even more difficult than the first. Cory's mom generously gave him one of Cory's fatigue jackets, and I saw Chase sheepishly pull it on today. It's been sitting around and he never put it on. I think he's finally able to honor him by wearing it.

Today in church, eight or nine men from Zach's unit came from all over the country.  They will be there tomorrow.  All the men from Cory's unit are dead.  They died for us, people.  And all these beautiful 27 and 28 year old men remember.  They walk around with it every day, as does my son.  And Cory and Zach are buried about thirty feet from each other down at the Veteran's Cemetery.

There was trouble funding this sculpture, and it was tabled for some time. A friend of mine interested in sculpture took up the reins and incessantly beat on Woodlands businesses' doors for a couple years to get the funding.  He also is no longer with us, and won't be able to see the fruit of all his labor.  Left in his wake is a lot of pain as well.

So, when you go tomorrow, thank God for what you have.  For what we all have. For our freedom. For our God.  For our families. And pray for those who are empty-armed and still experiencing that pain.  I'll see you there.

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