Lights flashing. Sirens ringing. Flags waving. Hearts grieving the loss of an American Hero. As U.S. Navy Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Charles Keating IV leaves the island for the last time, members of the Coronado community line the city’s streets, blanketing the area in the colors of the American flag.
Red for valor, white symbolizing purity and innocence, and blue signifying vigilance, perseverance & justice. Some say it’s the least they can do to pay respect to one of their own – a neighbor, a friend, a hero… who will never be forgotten.
Doug Weisbarth, Flag Committee Chairman for Rotary Club of Coronado passed out flags to members on the community. He says he feels fortunate to play a role in Keating’s procession. “Coronado is the Navy SEAL capitol of the world. And, whenever you have a fallen SEAL, we always have some connection. He’s either from Coronado, or lived in Coronado, so, the community really gets out and shows their appreciation and respect. And, so, one of the things we do with the flags, since we have them, is we usually become part of the ceremony, in one way or another.”
Local businesses and schools closed their doors during an emotional procession, to encourage people of all ages to show their support for Keating’s family and our armed forces, and pay tribute to a life that was taken from this world way too soon.
Coronado resident, Gail Conrad, was in attendance for the procession and believes the community’s support system is unlike any other. “What an amazing guy he was and he had just gotten married. I just thought, only Coronado would have this many people come out and honor somebody. It’s just amazing.”
To some, Keating with always be remembered as “Charlie” or “Chuck”, but to everyone, he will be remembered as the Navy SEAL who fought for our freedom and defended the country he loved.
A small town with a big heart that’s left grieving.