(If that picture doesn’t tear you up inside, you need to verify you have a soul. This is why I will always be a dog guy. A cat would never do this.)
From the Des Moines register:
Jon Thomas Tumilson wrote a class paper when he was 15 about how he wanted to spend the next 20 years as a Navy SEAL, an elite member of the U.S. armed forces.
On Friday, an estimated 1,500 mourners paid their last respects to Petty Officer Tumilson, a Navy SEAL whose helicopter was shot down in Afghanistan on Aug. 6, about 20 years after Tumilson wrote that paper. He was 35 when he died in one of the deadliest attacks on U.S. forces in the decade-old U.S. deployment to Afghanistan.
“J.T. was going to be a Navy SEAL come hell or high water,” friend Scott Nichols said of Tumilson, who was born in Osage on July 1, 1976, the nation’s bicentennial year, and grew up in Rockford.
The story about Hawkeye is what really got the waterworks flowing for me:
Family members followed Tumilson’s ribbon-winning Labrador retriever, Hawkeye, into the service. Hawkeye later accompanied his new owner, Nichols, Tumilson’s close friend, to the stage, where the Lab dutifully dropped to the floor to listen.
When I was in A-stan, I lost one of my dogs (technically my Housemates.) My own dog apparently slept on the spot where we buried her for a week, and refused to come in. When I heard that from halfway around the world, it just tore me up inside. My prayers go out to the families of everyone that knew JT and those who were touched by what he did in his too-short life, but a part of me also hopes that Hawkeye will understand in his little doggie mind why his Dad won’t be there to throw a tennis ball for him anymore.
Since I am already misty-eyed, I might as well watch Emmet Thunderpaws with his dad….