Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Perspective: 'And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest'

Above: The UH-60 Blackhawks of 82nd Medical Company sit along the flight line.

As two Black Hawk helicopters landed in the 108 degrees Baghdad afternoon, we formed a line to show respect for two tiny vehicles as they drove by – each carrying two body bags containing U.S. soldiers beginning their journey from a hospital in Iraq to burial back home.

The four were among seven U.S. soldiers killed Monday in the western part of Baghdad when their truck fell off a bridge. Varying accounts say the truck was swerving to avoid a roadside bomb or slipped off the bridge when it tried to turn too quickly. The soldiers had been ordered to set up an instant road block, one of the strategies to capture insurgents.

Surviving members of the unit, many weeping openly, served as pall bearers carrying the litters to the waiting helicopters. The long line, mostly staff from the 28th Combat Support Hospital, as well as visitors like us and representatives from the nearby U.S. Embassy, gave a salute or covered their hearts during the loading and as the choppers took off.

This ceremony called an "Angel Flight" takes place often.

Read the rest at MSNBC