I said my final farewell to my Father who we laid to rest at a National VA cemetery yesterday. It was a very small affair as my Father, despite his unquenchable thirst for social contact with acquaintances, had unfortunately alienated himself from closer friends and family in the last dozen or so years. Nevertheless, I didn't feel as if it took away from the moments that we all shared to say goodbye.
I had to say that the Air Force honor guard that opened my Father's service was breathtaking. Two of the soldiers did a flag fold while another played taps on a bugle in the distance. Most eyes were filled with tears. At the finale, one of the soldiers presented me with the flag. This may sound a bit cheesy, but during that moment my heart was so full of pride for my country and for my Father and for the young, nervous soldiers standing before me. At once I felt lucky to be American (not that I hadn't before, despite our marred reputation worldwide). I know my Father loved this country and it was nothing less than an honorable tribute to a wonderful man.
My Father had requested no funeral, so instead I led the way in telling a synopsis of his life story and myriad stories from friends and family who couldn't make it all the while I stood behind a triad podium decorated with pictures, flowers, belt buckles and his gorgeous urn. Mr. S added a few stories before everyone congregated at the front. In short, it was as beautiful of a short service as I could have planned.
Most people followed us back to our house about 40 minutes away where we served beer and English food (bangers and mash) as a tribute to my Father's love for England and his time stationed there (and his English heritage). I spent much of those first moments letting G meet family and friends, showing a video tribute I made, and telling stories with my Uncle (dad's brother) who is the last surviving sibling of 13 (and no, that's not a typo and obviously someone wasn't infertile). All in all, it was a perfect, cloudless spring day, a day my Father would have loved. It was a good day. It was a day of tears and stories and laughter and memories and good times. It was a day I will never forget.
Farewell Daddy. I hope you are nothing less than honored by our farewell. Until we meet again...