I have covered several heartbreaking stories, but today was the first time I have witnessed the body of a service member killed in action brought back to his family.
Cpl. Joseph Whitehead was 22 years old when he was killed in Afghanistan.
I waited on the tarmac along with more than a hundred other people and watched the plane carrying his body taxi down the runway to his grieving family.
Methodically, a ramp was set up to lower his casket from the plane. I watched in awe, my heart breaking for his family.
As soon as the casket was visible, Joseph's mother screamed his name.
The wind carried her cries, as six Marines carried Joseph's flag draped casket to a waiting hearse. The rest of us stood in silence.
Moments like this, I am reminded of how precious life is.
Covering death is hard to do. Yet, I am fortunate. You see, I don't have to experience it so intimately, to appreciate life and the lives of the people I love.
I came home tonight and told my children I love them and hugged them. All the while, I thought about Joseph's mother and how she couldn't do that anymore...and I thanked God I still can.
Cpl. Joseph Whitehead