Nate DeTample-My Hero
This is written in honor and in memory of Nate DeTample, who sacrificed his life for us on August 5th, 2005.
This week I experienced one of the most magnificent moments of my lifetime. I had an opportunity to be blessed by someone else’s misfortune. Please allow me to explain.
I received a call from Chief Coluzzi asking me if I could attend the funeral of Nate DeTAMPLE. I was very grateful of his offer. Little did I know that I would receive a blessing that I will never forget. To begin with, upon my arrival I noticed a large amount of persons that had come to pay their respect to this young man. Once inside, I met Mr. and Mrs. DeTAMPLE. My heart poured out to these lovely people. I didn’t know what to say that would make them feel better. After all, what do you say to someone who has lost a child, what words would bring an instance comfort, none that I can think of? I wanted so badly to be able to bare their burden, if just for a moment. But I knew I was powerless. What was comforting was discovering from the words of others, that this family had Christ in their lives. I knew He could carry the burden, if only for a moment.
I sat and watched as the minutes and hours went by, as the church became more and more filled with people of the community. Eventually the entire 1st floor was full and people were seated in the balcony. I watched and listened intently as the Boy scouts entered carrying the United States Flag. I listened to the powerful voice of a woman who sang America the Beautiful. I recall singing songs that I sang in my youth, in church. It was one thing after another that was leading me upon a path that I never knew I was to travel. I listened intently to each word that was spoken by various members of the family and friends. I was discovering something very important. This family was a family that loved and served the Lord. This young man, who was present only in spirit, was in fact a child of the King. My heart sang out GLORY, GLORY, GLORY!!! I fought back the tears as I heard of the lives Nate had touched. I looked at pictures of this young man, who honestly was still a child when he chose to lay down his for me. More and more I wanted to know of Nate DeTample. I wanted to know how this youth, who is only a few years older than my son, had become a person who had blessed so many. And yet, all the time I knew the answer. It was through his parents that he learned who God was. It was through Nate that God chose to shine. And it was through Nate that I learned what a hero was. I learned it through the officers that felt as if they had lost one of their own. I learned it from the scouts that stood tall. I learned it from firemen and fire women. I learned from the Christians who knew God’s word is firm and true . I learned it from the people that I never knew. I learned from the motorcade that was hundreds of cars long. I learned it from the army, marines, air force, west point cadets, and two star Generals. I learned it from the people that stood on the streets waiving the American flag, young and old, black and white, Jew and Gentile. These people stood in the rain to pay their respects. I know that many of them never knew this warrior, yet they shed tears, they crossed their hearts, they held signs in show of support. One child held a sign saying Nate for President. On this day, I believe he could have won it. I learned it from a pregnant woman who stood and probably needed rest. I learned on this day that no matter what my opinion was of this war, that no matter what problems existed in my life, that no matter how right or wrong I think things are, that there stood a youth who became a man, who made a conscious decision to give his life, not just for me, not just for his parents, not just for God, but for the whole world. Because he believed that as it were said, no greater gift can a man give than that he lay down his life for his brother.
Nate, if you can hear me, and I know that you can, I want to thank you for being the person that you are and the hero you will always be. You have renewed my strength in the Lord. You have blessed an entire community. You have touched the lives of the living and the unborn. You Nate, on this day, you became my HERO.
Sgt. Andre M. Stevens, Station Commander, Troop M. Trevose