The details of the train crash in Midland, Texas just keep getting worse and worse. It was in the middle of a Veterans Day celebration when an 18-wheeler carrying a parade float was struck by the train. We already know four people are dead. But now we know their names, and their stories. And now we know that one war hero gave his life to save the woman he loved.
If you need to be reminded why we celebrate Veterans Day in the first place, I present to you Army Sgt. Joshua Michael's incredible act of bravery in the last moments of his life.
Michael was just 34. He'd survived two tours of duty in Iraq, earning not one but two Purple Hearts. He'd retired from the Army only because of injuries sustained from IEDs while in uniform, injuries that put him among the wounded veterans on the float with their families. But on Thursday, his mother-in-law says the father of two pushed his wife, Daylyn, off the float. The move saved her life, and she is the only one who made it off the float uninjured. Sadly, he was one of the four servicemen who died in the accident.
It's a tragedy. Two little kids lost their daddy. A wife has lost her husband. And yet, what a beautiful gift. Joshua Michael gave his wife the gift of life. He gave his kids the gift of having their mother when they very easily could have been orphaned.
Something tells me Michael didn't have to think long and hard about the decision. He was a man who signed up for the military, who went to Iraq twice. He was a man who had always been prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice for love of country, but instead he made it here, for love of a woman.
We'd all like to fancy ourselves heroes, but it takes a certain kind of person to put others lives first, and he was it. His death reminds us that the people who come home from the military may no longer be fighting for us, but they're always heroes.
Our hearts are with Daylyn and their children today. What would you say to them if you could?
Donations for the Michael family are being accepted online at a website set up for the family.
Image via .:[ Melissa ]:./Flickr