America's beauty shines at soldier's memorial

7 years ago

Last month, while on loan from his family and his hometown of Owasso, Okla., Army Sgt. Andrew Looney was killed by a suicide bomber attack in Afghanistan.

Three years ago, Sgt. Looney lost part of his right foot in Iraq. He went through rehab, was fit for a prosthetic, and instead of opting out of the military and out of the battlefield, he picked up right where he left off.

Sgt. Looney put his boots back on the ground. He sacrificed it all at 22 years old.

What you are about to witness, via beautiful spot photography from “Owassoisms” and others, is the free-flowing love of a state and a country I am proud to call home. On Monday, the community of Owasso was filled to the brim with thankfulness, and the streets were lined with flag-carrying townspeople, who were paying last respects to their fallen son.

Study these photos. Think about them often. And this Fourth of July… before the cookout, before the fireworks, before skiing at the lake… take a moment to remember the men and women who are still in harm’s way. In this time of war, please remember why our independence is such a celebratory event. And even if it isn’t commonplace for your family, spend a moment in prayer or meditation for the family of Sgt. Looney and for the comrades he left behind.

I can’t prove it, but I believe that in your little moment of thanks, a camouflage-clad hero halfway across the world will feel your love in their soul. Some how, some way, they will sense your pride. But if you genuinely reflect on their courage before grabbing your picnic fork, this I do know: The potato salad and blueberry cobbler will taste sweeter. When you look up at an American flag whipping in the wind… it will sound crisper. The voices of your loved ones… will become lovelier.

For this young soldier, a family weeps. Owasso weeps. Oklahoma weeps. America weeps. Lady Liberty applauds. The angels, no doubt, rejoice.

Goodbye, Sgt. Looney. May you take up post on the highest star, guard from afar and have a multitude of peace in your heart.

Greater love hath no man than this, that he lay down his life for his friends


My country,’ tis of thee


sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing


from every mountainside let freedom ring



Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound



that saved a wretch like me



The colors of the rainbow… so pretty… in the sky


Are also on the faces… of people… going by


I see friends shaking hands… saying how do you do


They’re really saying… I… love… you.


And I think to myself… what a wonderful world.


America! America!


God shed His grace on thee


And crown thy good with brotherhood


From sea to shining sea


From a distance… there is harmony


and it echoes through the land


And it’s the hope of hopes, it’s the love of loves


it’s the heart of every man.


Army Sgt. Andrew R. Looney
June 26, 1987 ~ June 21, 2010



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