Operation Welcome Home – Staff Sergeant Jasen Barcklay

Did you ever attend an event that was so moving that words failed to describe it? Yesterday at 5:30 pm, a group of about 120 Gilbert residents stood outside and along the sidewalk in front of Town Hall. I noticed about five or six tall, handsome men in uniform waiting as well, and wondered who they were. The lights of a motorcycle motorcade came into view surrounding a car carrying Staff Sergeant Jasen Barcklay and his family. His wife Lori beamed. His mother Sandra looked like a shy woman overcome with joy at our cheering in gratitude of her son’s service to our country.

In the Council Chambers, the American Legion Post 39 provided the Honor Guard. Debbie Coon sang the National Anthem, and if you know the story behind that song, you cannot hear it or sing it without emotion.

The proclamations were read. And then Mayor Lewis asked Sergeant First Class James Hall to join Staff Sergeant Barcklay. Sergeant Hall had been the first recipient of the Town’s Operation Welcome Home ceremony.

The six mystery men were identified and invited by Mayor Lewis to join the other men. They had all served in Sergeant Barcklay’s unit. He had asked them to attend the ceremony and to be recognized. Individual soldiers rarely want to be in a spotlight, for they know they do nothing alone.

And then Mayor Lewis asked every person in the room who had served in the military to step to the front. I’ll bet half the room was standing there. We gave them a standing ovation.

If you haven’t been to one of these ceremonies, please go. Bring your children.

To see it on Ch 11, go here: http://gilbert.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=4&clip_id=407