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On Friday night a little boy in Clarksville, Tenn., got his wish.
Thousands of porch lights were switched on across the country and around the world at the request of Darren Baysore, 6.
People posted photos of their lights on Facebook. And not just porch lights, but a soldier’s bunk in Afghanistan with lights strung around it, an illuminated ambulance bay, and even a trucker who left his rig lights on all night long. There were photos of children who were saluting the camera; veterans and active-duty servicemen and women posed in front of lights for the occasion.
It was all to honor a fallen soldier, Staff Sergeant Thomas Baysore, who was killed in Afghanistan a year ago on September 26, 2013. But the photos also honored his son.
For Darren, the loss of his father has been devastating. He and his dad shared a special bond and a connection that had a lot to do with the moon: When Sgt. Baysore deployed to Afghanistan, he told his boy that he could talk to the moon as if that were dad and dad would always get the message. (Mom, Jamie, also helped a bit with that.)
On the day Darren learned of his father’s death, his mother told him that his dad would split time between heaven and the moon. So Darren asked his mom if they could turn their front porch light on so his dad could see it shining.
And then last week, Darren asked the world to put their lights on, too, to mark the one year anniversary of his loss.
His mom said Darren wanted it to be bright "so Daddy can see ... that I love him."
On Sunday, Darren said he wanted to thank all the strangers that helped him. His mother said Darren had been experiencing grief and night terrors for the past year, but this weekend, laughter came back to the house.
"All I could think of is that millions of people — that touched us — had helped restore that for us," Jamie Baysore said.