I have seen images, and even news stories, but I never imagined that I would participate in such an event. It was an honor I will not soon forget.
I was at the VA, moving from one appointment to another when a voice came over the loud speaker. “There will be a Walk of Honor on the second floor.” It was to begin in just a few seconds. In fact, I was on the second floor and rounding the corner of the hallway when I see nurses and doctors emerging to the hallway from behind closed doors. They lined the hall. I asked if I could participate, and they said, “Yes.”
I decided to grab a quick photo. More nurses and doctors emerged, and the hall seemed full of healthcare workers. Then from around the corner came a gurney, covered in white with a folded American flag on top. The hallway was completely silent.
The gurney was pushed by an attendant, and four VA police officers escorted the honored Veteran, two in front, two in back. They silently proceeded down the hallway and disappeared. The hallway cleared almost as quickly as it formed.
I chose not to take a second photo, one of the gurney and the escorts. It did not seem right.
It was an honor to participate in this seemly simple event, but was so profound. These healthcare workers of our VA Medical Center taking the time to honor a Veteran who has passed was a very moving experience. And, these dedicated healthcare workers of our VA system do this not out of duty, but out of compassion for the Veterans in their care. Even for one last time in a hallway with strangers in their midst.
See you on the highway.