By Bill McEwen / The Fresno Bee
No! No! No!
Not to this dutiful band of brothers. Not to a family that already has sacrificed too much.
Then a pause for thanks. Jason, eldest of the three brothers at 33, wasn't on the Blackhawk helicopter that carried 21-year-old Nathan to his death.
Followed by questions.
With their brother Jared and his friend Jeremiah Baro buried headstone to headstone at Clovis District Cemetery, why did Nathan and Jason enlist in the Army?
How could they put their family through the second-by-second trials and anguish of war?
Then the answers.
You raise children to your standards; the Hubbards' are noble and enduring. You teach the importance of accountability and, with a little luck and a lot of leading by example, the lessons stick.
Then you do what every parent must.
But unlike many of us who put such notions on a pedestal and merely pay homage, the Hubbards clutched their ideals close to heart and carried them off to Iraq.
The Hubbards are military men. They leap into action, overcoming danger with bravery, pride and skill.
I won't forget what Jason told The Bee two years ago when asked why he and Nathan had joined the Army.
Pointing out that Jared was killed on his second Iraq tour, Jason said: "We felt that if more people did their part and joined and served their country that maybe somebody wouldn't have to go a third time."
He also said, "Our enlistment isn't because we agree or disagree with what is going on over there. Our enlistment is because our country is at war. There are young men being sent to fight this war, and we feel we should be part of that."
Now Jeff and Peggy face the heartache of burying a second child.
Once is tragic. Twice? There aren't words to describe what's ahead for them.
Those who know the Hubbards say they are resilient.
When Jared was killed, they didn't get over it -- who would? -- but they moved forward with their lives.
They'll rebuild again. Not what they had before. But a life and a family underpinned by high standards and service to others, and memories of two departed sons and brothers who made choices that spoke well of them all.
They'll need privacy, time and support. Keep them in your prayers.
If you don't know the story of the Hubbard Family, you may read it here.
This tribute to the character, the heart and soul of the Hubbard's can be applied to most of those who serve in the military and their families. People often speculate about why people serve, perhaps this will help them understand.