He gave his life for his country, and the least that his country can do is honor him for his sacrifice. That is exactly what students of Coronado Middle School did, as they lined the Fourth Street in Coronado to in honor of Navy SEAL Darrik Benson, who was to be buried at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego.
A Sign On San Diego feature shared images of the children, hands over their hearts, paying tribute to the fallen SEAL as his hearse passed by. In their other hand they carried the Stars and Stripes, which they waved in tribute of Benson as his remains left North Island Naval Air Station.
Jay Marquand, principal of Coronado Middle School, shared: “It’s so important for our kids to learn the value of freedom… This is about as real as it gets.” Coronado Middle School has around 750 students in the sixth, seventh, and eighth grades, more than a third of whom were children of military parents.
The students, guided by Marquand and their teachers, walked about a block to Fourth Street, which was the main thoroughfare from the Naval Air Station to the Coronado Bridge. The commanding officer of Coronado Naval Base had sent word that they would welcome community support as Benson’s hearse passed by.
On Tuesday, the students may get to do this again, as yet another SEAL who perished in that fateful August 6 crash in Afghanistan will be laid to rest, also at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery. Navy SEAL Jesse D. Pittman was assigned to a unit based in Coronado.
Both funerals will be closed to the public.