The chapel this morning was full, a solid mass of BDU’s and dress blues. What struck me was the palpable silence that surrounded us. There were no words that were adequate; nothing that could convey the devastation each person felt at the loss of a life that ended many decades too soon. Senior Airman Bryan Bell, an Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technician, was just 23 years old when he lost his life in Afghanistan.
Sixteen days ago his young wife woke up with her world still intact. Sixteen days ago his mother began the day like all others since he deployed, thinking about her son and his mission and saying a prayer for his safety. Sixteen days ago his father went to work and perhaps thanked someone who asked about the welfare of his son. Sixteen days ago his sister, a young airman herself, may have thought about the last conversation she had with her brother and smiled, because he teased her about a shared childhood memory and told her not to worry about him.
And then a single knock on the door changed all of their lives. One moment the world was one way, the next moment is was forever altered.
The service today was heartbreaking and beautiful. Just before it ended his squadron performed a Final Roll Call. As the haunting notes of Taps lingered in the air the only sounds that remained for several moments were those of the many brave airmen in attendance who were choking back tears. Rest in peace Senior Airman Bell and may your family and friends find comfort in your memory when the time is right.
Lord of power and might, whose mercy is everlasting,
guard and guide those who place their lives in the balance to ensure the safety of those nearby.
Look with favor upon those with the prowess and skill to disarm explosive devices,
render them safe, and remove from others the threat of harm.
Bless those who have been set apart by this hazardous duty,
and give support to their families and loved ones who wait through each tense call.
Receive into eternal rest those who have given their lives
and bring healing to those who mourn.
Grant that in the EOD Family there may be unity of spirit for the well being of all.
To your glory with grateful hearts we thank you loving God.