Last Wednesday, Mayor Russ Wall, Council member Dama Barbour, and Police Chief Del Craig, attended the homecoming of Jared Day. Here is their story...
Taylorsville Council member, Dama Barbour, has two grandsons serving in the military. They have both been to Iraq and one is awaiting his next assignment – possibly to Afghanistan. But as a council member, Barbour had a life-changing experience on Wed., Aug. 17, 2011, when she was part of the Taylorsville City delegation attending the homecoming of Navy Communicator, Jared William Day, who was killed in Afghanistan this month.
“How do you sort through so many feelings at once?” Barbour said. “Sadness, pride, beauty – I can barely put into words the things I felt while watching the Day family accept the remains of their only son.”Barbour recounted her experience at the arrival of this fallen soldier. “There were 36 American flags held by the Patriot Riders – motorcyclists who are holding an American flag for a fallen soldier. How ironic that those Patriot Riders, there to show support and protect this family from harassment, are needed because of freedom. The same freedom Jared died fighting for.”
As she watched his mother, Barbour said, "I wondered if she was thinking about the birth of her son, maybe his 2-year-old birthday party, or maybe the day when her 6-year-old son told her he wanted to be in the Navy. She sobbed and was heartbroken, but she was obviously very proud of her son,” Barbour recalled.
Del Craig, Taylorsville Chief of Police, had similar feelings as he watched the plane land on the tarmac. “It was an honor to be there and to see how it was handled by the staff at the Air Guard, the Patriot Guard and the police,” Craig said. “It was humbling to know that we have men and women in our communities who are willing to put their lives on the line to ensure our freedom.”
Taylorsville Mayor Russ Wall was filled with emotion as the family received the casket, draped with an American flag. “All servicemen were at attention and everyone else had their hand on their heart,” he said. “Jared believed in his service and was willing to do it, no matter the price. I thought, as a parent, how difficult this must be.”
Barbour found it fascinating that Jared’s friend from elementary school, Paul Seal, was his escort on the plane. His family is also from Taylorsville and he is in the Air Force.
“It is amazing to me that military personnel are with the family at all times,” Barbour said. “This experience is one I will never forget as long as I live. When I act in the capacity of a city council member, as we pass laws and ordinances, I will remember that it’s people like Jared Day who make it possible to have our government – to have our freedom.”