Inside a limousine parked on the airport tarmac, Katherine Cathey looked out at the clear night sky and felt a kick.
"He's moving," she said. "Come feel him. He's moving."
Her two best friends leaned forward on the soft leather seats and put their hands on her stomach.
"I felt it," one of them said. "I felt it."
Outside, the whine of jet engines swelled.
"Oh, sweetie," her friend said. "I think this is his plane."
As the three young women peered through the tinted windows, Katherine squeezed a set of dog tags stamped with the same name as her unborn son:
James J. Cathey.
"He wasn't supposed to come home this way," she said, tightening her grip on the tags, which were linked by a necklace to her husband's wedding ring.
The women looked through the back window. Then the 23-year-old placed her hand on her pregnant belly.
"Everything that made me happy is on that plane," she said.
They watched as airport workers rolled a conveyor belt to the rear of the plane, followed by six solemn Marines.
Katherine turned from the window and closed her eyes.
"I don't want it to be dark right now. I wish it was daytime," she said. "I wish it was daytime for the rest of my life. The night is just too hard."
Suddenly, the car door opened. A white-gloved hand reached into the limousine from outside - the same hand that had knocked on Katherine's door in Brighton five days earlier.
The man in the deep blue uniform knelt down to meet her eyes, speaking in a soft, steady voice.
"Katherine," said Maj. Steve Beck, "it's time."
That's but a tiny portion of the piece. I strongly encourage reading the whole thing.