"There is something singularly beautiful and appropriate in the music of this wonderful call. Its strains are melancholy, yet full of rest and peace. Its echoes linger in the heart long after its tones have ceased to vibrate in the air."
- Master Sergeant Jari A Villanueva, USAF [Taps]
Two Grandpa Al’s; both served in WWII; one went on to father six children, the other was a father to seven; and as of yesterday, both have headstones at the Fort Logan cemetery in Colorado. One Grandpa Al was mine and was buried before I was born; the second was Jon’s grandfather. It’s a little weird to see how lives intertwine, isn’t it?
When driving onto the property, I couldn’t help but become awed at the sight of thousands of white headstones dotting the lawns. Humbleness set in as I realized how many men and women have died for us, just so that I can enjoy the freedoms that we have. There was a sense of pride when I realized that one of those men was my grandfather. Tears pricked my eyes, both in thankfulness for his sacrifice and sorrow that I never got to meet him.
When the funeral procession started and we wound our way through the cemetery, a hush fell over the car. What an impressive sight, and an awesome honor for a man who served his country well. Jon’s Grandpa Al was awarded the Bronze Star, something he never talked about in his lifetime, discovered by his children only after his death. When they started playing Taps, the tears welled up again. And when the newly folded flag was handed to Grandpa's oldest son and the naval officer said, “On behalf of the President of the United States and the Chief of Naval Operations, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's service to this Country and a grateful Navy”, I felt Jon straighten a little and his shoulders pull back in pride.
Theirs was an amazing generation. A generation who did what was right, soley based on their principles and without having to be asked; a generation full of honor, integrity, and strength. And I fear that we may never see a generation like it again.