The media brushed by the news. Another American killed. A Sailor. A SEAL. Killed in Iraq.
Despite the cursory mention, despite the chaff from political contests that demanded attention, the nation noticed and paused.
His family was notified. His new bride of only a few months, a vibrant and lovely girl with an infectious optimism and ready smile, was notified too. The utter sadness of it all overwhelmed everyone.
The tragic news spread across his town, and people who had never met any of them sprang into action. On Friday the city of Coronado will line the streets to honor Charles Keating IV as he winds his way toward the bridge and to his final destination overlooking the Pacific Ocean. You can read the full story of what is planned by clicking here.
His brother SEALS paid homage to him in their own ways with private tributes and wakes honoring his memory and his family. They will pay their respects again on Friday as his casket passes between them.
There is a beauty to all of this; not in the loss of a wonderful young man from a strong and loving family, not in the bottomless sorrow that his wife is feeling, because there is nothing beautiful about that. But there is a quiet grace to be found in the warm, gentle embrace offered them by hundreds – even thousands – of people who, for a brief moment in time, are grieving too.
Grieving with them.