When sports seems secondary

16 Aug

Photo from Stand for Spencer Facebook page

I love sports. I’ve always liked to play sports, watch sports, discuss sports and write about sports. Being a sports reporter is fun, and I enjoy it immensely.
But every now and then, a moment comes when all that seems very, very trivial.

Today in Olathe, Kan., 21-year-old Spencer Duncan came home. He was one of the soldiers who was killed during that recent helicopter crash in Afghanistan. The motorcade went from the airport to the funeral home, and he and his family were escorted by a large number of police vehicles as well as several hundred motorcycles of the Patriot Guard. In addition, people lined the street wearing red, white and blue, holding flags and signs. Ours said, “Thank You!”

The motorcade passed Spencer’s alma mater, Olathe South High School, where he graduated just three years ago. Today was the first full day of classes there, but the school gave students the option of going to join the other supporters outside, and a moment of silence was held by the ones who remained indoors.

I saw more American flags flying on houses today than I have since Sept. 11, 2001.

It encouraged me so much to see the community come out in support of a soldier’s family and friends. Even when a soldier goes overseas and comes back fine, there is still enormous sacrifice on his part and on the part of his family and friends. To me, it is so humbling to think about the selflessness of so many of these people, who put their lives at risk on a daily basis to protect the freedoms of people they don’t even know – you, and me, and everyone else in this country – and people who will be here in future generations.

The response from this city to the return of Spencer Duncan was wonderful. Soldiers and their families should know that even though the war has been long, we have not forgotten them, and we realize that without them, our lives would be very different.

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4 Responses to “When sports seems secondary”

  1. Bob Houck August 16, 2011 at 11:18 am #

    Well said!

    • Ashley Dunkak August 16, 2011 at 1:08 pm #

      Thanks, Bob!

  2. Monica November 5, 2011 at 8:16 pm #

    great job Ash! I know this was a while ago but this gave me the chills, I knew him so it was awesome to see!! I’m proud of Olathe and am proud to say I knew Spencer!! He was a great guy!

    • Ashley Dunkak November 5, 2011 at 11:15 pm #

      Thank you, Monica. I appreciate that. It was a special thing to be a part of.

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