THE ANGEL'S STORY CHAPTER 20
Lockerbie is a little town in the Dumfries and Galloway region of Southwestern Scotland. On December 21, 1988 Pan American’s Flight #103 was blow up by Islamic extremists, killing all on board and eleven more on the ground. A total of 270 fatalities. My neighbor, Bob Pagnucco of South Salem, New York was among the victims of this tragedy. This incident touched me deeply. I was outraged at the loss of life. It brought home for the first time, a true understanding and recognition of the debt we owe our military. At the same time, my heart went out to the families of those who lost members in the village of Lockerbie. I wanted them to know, that we cared as much for their losses, as we did for our own. This terrible event inspired me to build a small angel in bronze for their memorial garden. I named the little Angel “Joy,” because I wanted to celebrate the lives of those lost, not their deaths. “Joy” was shipped quietly to Lockerbie as a gift from our country to their country. Very quietly, with no fanfare, just hoping, one on one, to bring a bit of comfort to the town.
Fast forward to: One day in the spring of 2008, a man named Kent Sterett from York, Pennsylvania, Googled himself, to discover that there are 110…one R’d Steretts in the United States! Kent is a volunteer with the Sterett Association: a citizen support group for Navy personnel onboard the U.S.S. Sterett: a DDG-104 Arleigh Burke-class Destroyer. Kent was in search of as many descendants of the Sterett family as possible, in order to invite them to attend the commissioning of the newest U.S.S. Sterett. She would be the fourth ship named in honor of American Hero, Andrew Sterett who served during the Quasi-War and Barbary Wars.
It was during his search for one R’d Steretts, that Kent happened upon my website and discovered the sculpture titled: “Joy,” the Lockerbie Angel. He then contacted me and commissioned a copy to be permanently installed on board the U.S.S. Sterett for her commissioning in Baltimore Harbor on August 9, 2008. The Steretts are direct descendants of my family on my mother’s side, who come from Baltimore, Maryland, so I was delighted and honored to receive the commission, which was sponsored by the Navy League of the United States. I also wrote a short poem for the occasion titled: “Love Letter from Home.” The poem, engraved on a small brass plaque, was also installed on board the U.S.S. Sterett.
Love Letter from Home: Dearest One, I’m counting on you. Keep the Light of Liberty bright. i so appreciate what you are doing for me. I miss you Sweetheart,
You make the Sun shine. I am with you now,... Every step of the way, Keeping you close, In my thoughts ..... In my prayers. Cherished above all, You are precious to me. Come home safely.... Come home soon.... All my love,
The weather was perfect and thousands of people showed up for the commissioning ceremonies. When attending such an event, you become intensely aware of our own countrymen, serving on board the Sterett, dedicating their lives to protecting you and your country. This knowledge, up close and personal, is awe-inspiring and emotional.
Someone said to me that day, that “Joy “ was the only Guardian Angel in the military. I do not know if this is true or not, but it started a new kind of thinking, somewhere in the back of my mind that day. I remember saying to myself. “ Mmmmm… I guess she has more work to do!” I wasn’t sure of course, just what that work would be. It was merely, a seed of an idea for a Someday, or Sometime, One day, or Maybe?