In March of 2007 my father passed away at the age of 65. My father was in the Navy when he was younger. He served his four years. He always remembered being in the service with a positive light. Something he was proud of doing and as a result carried a great respect for the armed services throughout his life. Instilling it in all of his four children as well.
My father was given a military funeral. In my mind I had been expecting a handful of officers in dress uniforms coming out with rifles and performing a 21 gun salute. But in reality it was two young men with a boom box and a flag. The 21 gun salute was on CD. I remember thinking it felt disrespectful rather than the other way around. But I guess there are probably rules to firing off guns in cemeteries these days. Sad to say.
But then it was a sad day. I think the only thing that brought a sliver of a smile to my face that day was the look on the two young naval mens faces when they arrived and saw my brother-in-law in his naval uniform. I don’t think they were expecting to see a commander at this funeral. It just so happend I caught their look of recognition when they did. I expect they would have been in good form no matter what, but now they had to be, no matter what.
Strangely neither my brother nor I ever joined the armed services. It had crossed both are minds but neither one of us are the type. I always told myself that if we were being attacked on our shores, I would be the first to sign up. But luckily it has never come to that. Still I sometimes wonder what would have become of my life if I had decided to join up when I was 18 or go to college and through ROTC. But back then I was a much different person. Four years seemed like a lifetime and I still had delusions I was going to be in Hollywood by age 21 directing epic motion pictures. Now I’m 32 and my life has shown me a different course.
What could have been’s are pretty much useless. So I won’t dwell for long on it. We all have a course in life and this is mine. But I greatly respect those who serve and who have served in the past.