By: Jennifer Murray

A Hero’s Homecoming: Covington Honors Fallen Marine Josh Witsman

I grew up in a one stoplight town. It prides itself on its hometown hospitality and values, but never have I seen it unite the way it has over the past week to honor one of their own.  Twenty-three year old Josh Witsman, sacrificed his life in Afghanistan for our country, and Covington brought him home with dignity and honor last night.

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Thousands of flags lined the processional for over 14 miles of beauty that couldn’t be described.  Thousands of people gathered and lined the streets to pay their respects. Hundreds of motorcycles, emergency professionals, family, and military members took part in a processional that stretched for over five miles.  Something so incredibly sad, yet so absolutely special to be a part of.

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Some saluted, some held their hands over their hearts, some shed tears freely, but together we honored him with a profound silence.

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We are humbled and extremely grateful for those who have paid such a high price for our freedom.

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May we never take this flag and for which it stands, for granted.

Our hearts and our prayers go out to the Witsman family.

17 Responses to “A Hero’s Homecoming: Covington Honors Fallen Marine Josh Witsman”

  1. Renee K
    June 8, 2012 at 12:43 am #

    Powerful post. Thanks for staying up late and sharing it with us. What a great reminder of those who continue to give and those who have given their lives so we can be free. Your pictures truly represent your town’s appreciation of those who serve us all. Thanks again.

  2. Barbara Manatee
    June 8, 2012 at 6:14 am #

    God Bless this young man who gave his life up for others. My brother did not die in combat, but did die while serving in the Navy 2 years ago and had a full military funeral. The memories will haunt me forever but I’m so proud of his service and sacrifices.
    Barbara Manatee recently posted.. Bittersweet

  3. mandi
    June 8, 2012 at 7:26 am #

    Thank you for sharing Jen!!

  4. {darlene} @ fieldstonehill
    June 8, 2012 at 8:34 am #

    Thank you for giving me the opportunity to pray for the family of this fallen hero. Because of him, we are free.
    {darlene} @ fieldstonehill recently posted.. overcoming decorating paralysis :: your signature style

  5. Susan Mc.
    June 8, 2012 at 9:09 am #

    Thank you Jennifer. So many people were lined up down Vermilion St. in Danville as the processional made its way to Covington. I’m glad honor was given where honor was due and glad my children were able to see it and take part in giving honor to this young man.
    Susan Mc. recently posted.. Wise in Your Own Conceit

  6. Crystal
    June 8, 2012 at 10:05 am #

    Our town recently went through the same thing. You can read my essay about it here: http://oregonwomensreport.com/2012/04/contest-winning-essay-one-good-man/. Thank you, Josh Witsman.

  7. Sandy
    June 8, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    What a beautiful, perfectly-written, heart-felt post! Thank-you for taking the time to come home and then to stay up so late to put this together for all to see! So incredibly, beautifully written & the pictures are the best Ive seen!!! Made me relive the entire evening! Josh was a true hero and always a kind, loving gentleman who loved his country and gave his all. So thankful for the little time I knew him and most grateful for his love for his country and our freedom and for the little town who pulled together to try to give just a little back to his family for what Josh had done for all! Thank you for sharing your heart to those here reading this beautiful post! You, Sis, I love very much, and so very grateful to have been given such an incredible sister!!!!

  8. Rhonda
    June 8, 2012 at 11:24 am #

    I grew up in the same one stoplight town. I went to school with Josh’s mom. My mother was one of the many lining streets. I wish i could have been there to show my support.

  9. Mindy F
    June 8, 2012 at 11:26 am #

    Praying for peace for the Witsman family……GOD BLESS YOU JOSH & MAY YOU REST IN PEACE…. You gave your life for our country and the people of America.. There is NO greater sacrafice~~~~You TRULY are ONE of GOD’s, Americans, Fountain County residents and your family’s HERO!!!!
    ———-A Former Fountain County Resident (Veedersburg)…. “As I walk through the valley of death, I fear NO EVIL”………Mindy F.

  10. Robbie
    June 8, 2012 at 2:38 pm #

    Powerful writing and amazing photos. I am thankful for the sacrifices heroes and their families make for our country.
    Robbie recently posted.. Missing

  11. Barbara
    June 8, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    Thank you for sharing such a moving experience. My heart goes out to the Marine Witsman’s family and loved ones. I will keep them all in prayer.

  12. Kathy
    June 8, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

    No one could say it better. Thanks for the post and Bless Covington for all they did for this young man. He and his family deserve the support. Thank you Josh. I will never forget what you did for us.

  13. Jessica Tryon
    June 8, 2012 at 6:37 pm #

    i would like to say thank you to everyone that did show there respect. i was out on the ramp to get back onto 63 north, and there were even semi’s cars,trucks that had pulled over to show there respect for josh… my god bless him for fighting for us to have our freedom.. god bless his family for what they have to go through..

    my love and prayers are with his family and friends in this big time of need!!!

    God Bless you
    Jessica,Shayannee,Jayden, Calvin

  14. Pat Aho
    June 14, 2012 at 8:10 pm #

    This touches me deeply. I have a son and a daughter who are active duty. Thank you for sharing.
    God bless our troops.
    Pat Aho
    Navy mom

    • QuatroMama
      June 15, 2012 at 10:26 am #

      It touches ME deeply that you read this, Pat. Thank you so much and blessings to your children. So humbled and grateful for their lives.

  15. Jami P
    June 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    Thank you Josh, for making the ultimate sacrifice for our country. May you be wrapped in God’s loving embrace forever. I’m sure that your family takes comfort in that very fact. You are our hero for all time, Josh.

    My daughter’s birthday was June 7, she will remember Josh, his family, and her hometown, with pride for the rest of her life.

  16. Steve
    June 20, 2012 at 10:10 pm #

    Outstanding writeup on the community coming together. I was in front of Flex-N-Gate, which shut down and had everyone out along the highway as the procession came through. You described the somber feeling PERFECTLY. We don’t honor our veterans enough, so this was something that HOPEFULLY woke our community to TRUE patriotism. Just when I thought that patriotism was all but lost, we have a hometown hero, pull us all together. THANK YOU JOSH, for your service and THANK YOU WITSMAN FAMILY, for sharing your son with us all throughout his amazing life.

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