Norfolk, Va. - Their dress blues no doubt matched their somber mood as the military community banded together to show support for the fallen. It's hard, so very hard to know what to say at a time like this.
“We continue to keep the families of Wes, and Brian, Sean in our prayers and ask you do the same,” says Rear Admiral Mike Shoemaker, Commander of Naval Air Force Atlantic.
As the admiral said, there was prayer inside the memorial service, but much more than that. There were stories about how the men lived.
Their lives may have been short, the event that took them away from this world over the Atlantic ten days ago may have been unexpected, but the plan this day was to celebrate life.
Here are a few quotes from those who knew them best:
"He wasn't shy about offering his opinion, and he loved his children,” says a friend about Lt. Sean Snyder.
“He would put anyone at ease, and don't be surprised if you end up laughing,” a friend said about Lt. Wesley Van Dorn.
"He displayed a quiet confidence and easy smile, and he brought us closer together as a family,” said another friend about Brian Collins.
"We will continue to support those who have been affected by this tragic accident and hoping that today's memorial allows those families continue with that grieving process and hopefully start the healing process,” says Rear Admiral Mike Shoemaker
The Navy brass had one last request: They asked the Vanguard and Black Hawks to honor their fallen crewmen by carrying on, in other words, continuing the mission as they would have it if they were still here.
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