The Big Think

October 7, 2005

Uncle David

Filed under: Disclosure — jasony @ 11:27 pm

We’re back from Houston and David’s funeral. The visitation was yesterday at Earthman’s funeral home (there’s one for the name game). The funeral was today at the Houston National Cemetery. It’s a very beautiful veteran’s cemetery that reminds me a lot of the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific in Hawaii. Lots of memorials to battles, units, and groups (submariners, infantry, etc). Like all veteran cemeteries, it’s a quiet and moving place.

There was a short service today with about 20 of David’s friends and family in attendance. David had chosen cremation and when we arrived at the area where the vets perform the ceremony, his urn (a simple lacquered knotty pine box) had been placed on a short pedestal and draped with a flag. There were a few short speeches by other vets who looked to have served in Korea, and even though they didn’t know David personally, we could still feel the love and respect they have for the soldiers that they spend their days sending off. There was also a 21 gun salute followed by taps and the folding of the flag; a very moving scene that I haven’t witnessed since my grandpa was given a soldiers burial many years ago. Then the folded flag and all 21 shell casings (carefully collected by the octogenarian riflemen) were presented to David’s widow Lynn.

Eight of us then had the privilege of walking over to the beautiful area where David’s remains are permanently placed. It’s a quiet area near the edge of the cemetery. You have to walk a bit away from the road. It’s looks out directly into a natural marshy place that’s home to lots of plants and beautiful white birds. The cemetery director assisted David’s son Davey in placing David’s remains into the permanent niche and they sealed up the cover.

Erin and I have now been to two funerals in as many weeks. Andrew was buried two weeks ago yesterday and his death is still a fresh memory. It’s been sad thinking about Andrew and Uncle David and the holes they leave behind, but it has reaffirmed to us how precious life is, and how incredibly, wonderfully, joyfully blessed we are to have each other and to live the lives we do. Walking out of the cemetery today Erin and I saw a headstone with the name and service record of one soldier. Beneath his dates was this simple and poignant phrase: I lived a good life. I wish I could thank this stranger for his wisdom.

These scars will eventually heal as time does its slow work, but for now we’re very sad.

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