One Volunteer

Every year Healing Field Flag Displays spring up all over the country.  They don’t, however, appear spontaneously like mushrooms popping up on a grassy field.  They happen because a myriad of volunteers plan, organize and then post thousands of flags to honor the sacrifices of others.

One Volunteer

Joshua Vielstich was one volunteer who helped post flags at Utah’s Healing Field.  A member of Alta High’s Hockey Team, Josh and his teammates drove metal anchors into the sod upon which flags would be posted.  They usually worked so fast that they had to be told to slow down or take a break so other volunteers would have an opportunity to take part.

Josh, an Eagle Scout, was a capable and talented young man who wanted to honor those who have sacrificed to defend our nation and to serve our communities.  He posted flags to honor the service and sacrifice of others.

Graduating from Alta High he had many paths he could have chosen, but Josh volunteered again.  Entering the “delayed entrance” program of the U.S. Marines while still a high school senior, Josh left for Boot Camp three days after graduation.  Boot Camp was a far more rigorous and demanding challenge that he had expected.  Nevertheless, he stuck it out and became a full-fledged Marine.  After advanced individual training, while yet a teenager, he left for a tour in Afghanistan.  There during a call home, his mother heard “rat a tat tat” in the background as Josh quickly ended the phone call.  His mom wondered why her son had hung up so abruptly, and Josh’s dad had to explain that their son’s unit had come under fire.  Not something a mother wants to hear.

Josh returned from duty in Afghanistan and was posted at the Marine Air Ground Task Force Training Command in Twenty-Nine Palms, California.  There last Saturday, Joshua died in a motorcycle crash.  Although he died off post and off duty, Corporal Joshua Vielstich still died while in the service of his country.  In three and a half years of his twenty-one years, he sacrificed more in defense of his country than most Americans will be called on to do in a full lifetime.

As Josh’s mortal body is laid to rest, the flag that draped his casket will be folded and presented to his parents on behalf of a grateful nation.  When the Utah Healing Field rises this September, a flag will be posted in honor of Corporal Joshua C. Vielstich, U.S. Marine Corps.  He will be honored as he honored others.

Corporal Joshua C. Vielstich

One Response to “One Volunteer

  • Michael Faul
    8 years ago

    My sympathy to Joshua’s parents and family. In the normal order of things, it is the children who bury their parents. For parents to bury their child is a true tragedy, because it is not just the life which has been lost, but also a large part of the future. May God give his soul eternal rest.

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