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!

Peace,

Steve

7 comments:

meimers said...

He's one of thousands that have given their lives. They are so "real". So many families have suffered the "real" cost. What a great question from Annie. She always has good questions.

Mike and Christie said...

Oh, what a great opportunity. Ya'll are wonderful parents.

I wonder how many of our kids think the very same question about Jesus Christ. We read about Him, we know he was born, died and rose again... but "Is He real?" Did HE REALLY die for me?" "Is He really coming back?"

Aunt Denise said...

When Jerry's best friend, who was also named Jerry (Carr) was killed in Viet Nam we ran to be with his wife, Brenda, who was my best friend. There were no words to say. We could only be there but could find no words. Later she told us that she didn't remember the words that people said but only remembered that they were "there". His daughter is a beautiful 39 year old and she has given Brenda four beautiful grandchildren. We should NEVER forget what these young men and women have given so we could be "free". It was a wonderful lesson that your children learned on this day.

Jeanelle said...

You have a wonderful family!!!! I got your link from Cathy's web site!! The boys are gorgeous and they look like you guys. We have 3 adopted children too. Best of wishes!!

gayle said...

Soooooo true! I think this is what many of our college and high school students experience--a lack of reality.

Melissa:

I tried an email address and still couldn't get through--Any suggestions on fundraising? dgcopela@geneva.edu


Thank you

mingming said...

I agree its is a great honor to a witness to such an honorable event.I personaly have conducted over 200 Military honors for families in my 10 years of being in the Army. I have lost and burried many a good friend since 9-11. This man will not be Forgotten both in heaven and with his family and brothers in arms.

SSG Nathan Haddad

David and Sarah said...

What a beautiful tribute to this man, and what a beautiful gift you have given your children.
Blessings,
Sarah