Final Farewell And in His Heart Forever
Two soldiers stand quietly and attentively behind the flag, neatly folded in a triangle. They wait and wait for the graveside service to begin.
I walk closer and take a picture of this scene. The two soldiers continue to look off into the distance, and the silence remains.
Someone announces that the service is beginning. A few words are spoken , very few. Then, the Our Father. Then, a warning about the upcoming volley of gunfire from the three older soldiers placed at the back of this scene. Three or four shots cut through the silence, in triplicate. Then, one of the older soldiers takes out his horn and begins “Taps”. The outside world creeps in as loud rap music blares from a car in another procession coming into the cemetary. The man from the funeral home hurries over to the cars driving past and signals for them to lower their radios. Then, the two young soldiers very carefully unfold the American flag, holding it open for just a moment, and fold it back up again. They so carefully trace the outline of the flag, so purposefully, I thought I could see the white gloved hands shaking.
The young soldier places the red, white, and blue triangle in the outreached hands of the widow, and she holds it to her chest, keeping it there the rest of the time. Someone announces the service has ended.
A nine year old boy cries and hugs his mother who kneels before him, and his tears roll down the back of her black nylon jacket. This is bitter reality creeping in again. I hear nothing but the boy’s soft crying, and it is unbearable. The sadness of his grandfather being gone.
Thinking about this later, I rewrite this in my head. How blessed they each were, to have a grandfather to love and be loved by, and to have a grandson to love and be loved by. And, this love will always be in his heart.