Thursday, July 24, 2008
Was He Real?
On Tuesday, Max, Misha and I attended the funeral of a 24 year old local soldier killed in combat in Afghanistan. Before we left I was talking with our children about this man and how he had died. This led to many different questions but the one that hit me hardest was this one; "Was he real?" This is a question I got from Annette, our 6-year old daughter.
It was with this question that I realized that in many ways the thousands of soldiers who preceded Corporal Hovater in death were in many ways "not real." They were simply headlines in the newspaper or a story on TV to me.
If you have never experienced the significance of a full honors military funeral please take the time to go.
The 22-year old widow sitting alone. The grieving mother. The snap of the guns in the 21-gun salute. The playing of taps. The presentation of the purple heart. The carefulness and respect of every movement by the honor guard. The shielding of the family by the Patriot Riders. The WWII, Korean, and Vietnam vets standing in solidarity. The precise folding of the flag. The finality of a "real" person who truly gave the last full measure of his devotion.
My boys asked so many questions and so many "whys." I wish I could have known Corporal Hovater in life but in death he taught both me and my sons incredible lessons on freedom, costs, and devotion. RIP in the arms of God!
Posted by Steve Eimers at 8:02 PM