The body of an Oklahoma soldier returned to the home front Wednesday. Sergeant Christopher Gailey of the 45th infantry was killed November 1, 2011, in Afghanistan when an IED exploded near his vehicle.
Family and friends were at the Tulsa Air National Guard Base to receive his body. The 26-year-old soldier was honored in a traditional military dignified transfer.
The Oklahoma sun shone down from a clear blue sky when the aircraft carrying Sergeant Christopher Gailey landed.
A songbird was the only sound as family, friends, and members of the military respectfully recognized a life taken to soon.
The family was accompanied to Gailey's case draped in the American flag, first his mother and father Shan and Tammy Gailey.
It was a poignant moment when Gailey's three-year-old daughter Allison was escorted to her father's coffin; the significance of the event heartbreaking because of her young innocence.
But Allison will grow up knowing her father was a hero. Sergeant Gailey left his home of Ochelata to serve in the National Guard in 2005.
He served seven years, deployed to Iraq in 2007 and was on his second tour of duty in Afghanistan. Gailey worked as a motor vehicle operator. Friends say he was outgoing and always had a smile on his face.
The colors that Sergeant Gailey so fiercely defended-the red white and blue-waved in the fall breeze as the patriot guard lined the streets of the base.
A traditional tribute that words can't describe, and for which silence says it all.
Funeral services for Sergeant Gailey will be this Saturday afternoon at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Bartlesville.