Fly high, my friendPosted: July 13, 2011
Saturday evening I received word from my brother, Brian, that one of our childhood friends had died earlier that day in a tragic accident. Dan Cole and his co-pilot were on a National Guard routine helicopter training missing near Knoxville when their OH-58D Kiowa Warrior helicopter crashed. Both lost their lives.
Dan’s family lived around the block from mine while we were growing up, and I spent countless hours at their house. His sister, Beth, and I were ‘blood sisters’, having used a rusty knife we found in a ditch by their house to seal the deal. Dan married a college friend of mine, and I was in their wedding some twenty-one years ago. He was a great husband, dad, and friend to many.
After serving our country in Kosovo and Iraq, I, and many others, breathed a sigh of relief when Dan came home from Iraq last summer. Somehow, he seemed safer.
It has nagged me all week that while I was eating ice cream at Dairy Queen with my friends, he was facing death. I’m not sure what the lesson in that is, other than time is uncertain.
This photo is from Brian and Dan’s kindergarten class. Dan is on the far left, and Brian is beside him. There are all sorts of military photos posted, but when I think of Dan Cole, this is the first image that comes to mind.
My friend Laura Thomas Hall wrote about Dan here.