Monday, September 9, 2013

No Do over

i went to a military funeral today
it was beautiful
in so many ways

the landscape was serene
i appreciated the symmetry
of the grave markers
the simplicity of each site
the rules and regulations
were honorable
and dignified

we all went to a pavilion
for a brief ceremony
two officers accompanied
the pall bearers
with the coffin
draped by an american flag

once everyone went
to their places
someone yelled
and then the officers
approached the coffin
removed the flag
by flying it
while held tightly in their hands
then the men
began folding the flag

i remember folding the flag
in the evenings
at summer camp
with my friends
it was joyful
we laughed
we talked
we realized we made mistakes
and would start over
we had made the perfect triangle

this was different
here this flag represented
a man's commitment to his country
his fight in the Korean war
this flag
actually represented my friend's father
they treated the flag as such
as a person
they took great care
placing the flag
into folds
then one officer stood back
held the flag tight
and started to make a triangle
out of the stripes

i realized
that if he made a mistake
he was going to have to pull it tight
he was not going to get a do over
just like in life
if you make a mistake
you can cover it up
you can ignore it
you can admit it
but you seriously
don't get a do over

this man
had a wonderful life
two children
a son and a daughter
who have been by his side
for months
as he was taken from this life

a long life
that was stopped short
due to illness
no do over
no chance to try again
but because he had always been
a decent man
he was honored
by his children
by his community
and by his nation

as the soldier finished the triangle
of solid stars
he caressed the flag
to make sure it was a
perfect triangle
he saluted the flag
he presented it to the other officer
and then
taps played

again so different than at summer camp
a real tribute to an honorable man
tears welled up
it was profound
it was a beautiful moment

when the soldier then
presented the flag to the son
he was giving his father back to him
it was significant
and memorable

it was definitely a proud moment
a lovely ceremony
pride was evident