I read this very touching tribute to the Washington Navy Yard victims this morning. While I am an Air Force civilian in at a base in suburban Boston, we are all part of the same national security team. I feel the loss as if they were on my base. Their lives of quiet persevering dedication brought to mind a quote from the 20th century Spanish Catholic priest and saint, Josemaria Escriva, which describes perfectly how these public servants brought dignity to their work daily:
"Don't wish to be like the gilded weather-cock on top of a great building: however much it shines, and however high it stands, it adds nothing to the solidity of the building.
Rather be like an old stone block hidden in the foundations, underground, where no one can see you: because of you the house will not fall." (St Josemaria Escriva, "The Way", point 590, English translation by Scepter Press, 1992).
I will resist the temptation of pointing out who are the "gilded weather-cocks" at the top of the great building which is our government, but I will say that those of us who go to work each day -- whether in DC or elsewhere -- defending and supporting the national security of our great nation are like those old stone blocks hidden in the foundations holding up the entire structure.
My Washington Navy Yard colleagues are grieving the loss of 12 of these stone blocks. I join them in saying goodbye, Godspeed, and rest in peace.