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The Citizen

Vote on Tuesday, Nov 6, in his honor

By Forrest Fontana

It is Wednesday, Sept. 19, 10:30 a.m.

I am standing on the street corner as the procession comes toward me.

The motorcycle brigade of Navy Seals, Special Forces, State Troopers passes.

Then the hearse approaches. Everyone is silent. Most are at attention. You can hear the sobbing.

This scene is repeated, I’m told, all along the funeral procession route.  Children are at the curbs of their school buildings, waving flags, right hand on their hearts.  The Police and Fire departments are in full dress.  Flags are at half-mast.

Despite the warmth from the sun, there’s a feeling of emptiness that’s apparent.

The taillights are now beyond us, yet no one moves, not a word is said, till the procession turns out of sight.

Slowly people gesture, some embrace, some gasp, some slouch over.

I know the pain of burying a brother who died way too early in his 40s.

I know the weight of watching parents bury a child – life’s natural order turned upside down – the crushing cruelty.  The heaviness will never pass.

Where am I? I am in my hometown. I am in Winchester, Massachusetts.

I am with my neighbors, standing there not as a town official, but as a resident, to honor one of our own: Navy Seal Glen Doherty who died honorably, but horribly, in a ambush Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the US Consulate in Libya.

Glen died a national hero, something my family cannot relate to, but I sense that this does not ease the sting.

My wife walks with me home, some of the neighbors engage in idle chit-chat.  I cannot. The surreal moment overtakes me.

She asks me “Is the movie that bad?  Did he have to die?” She knows I have been paying attention to the news reports. She knows that I am skeptical.





About the Writer:  Forrest lives with his wife and two daughters in Winchester, a suburb just north of Boston, where he is active in local politics as an elected member of the town’s Board of Selectmen and a Town Meeting voting member.  He was born in Peabody, Mass. and moved down South to attend Vanderbilt University.  He lived in a various parts of the United States before attending business school at Columbia University.  About twenty years ago, he returned to the Boston area and has been registered as an “Independent” ever since.  His professional background is as an Investment Manager, analyzing industries and companies and investing money globally, as well as a small-business owner.  His focus at the Kennedy School is in the Decision Sciences and he is a newly elected member of the Harvard Graduate Council.