Last Days

Last Friday I had my final funeral ceremony at Arlington, a full ceremony for a fellow Lutheran veteran of the US Air Force. At the start of the ceremony the wind was blowing something fierce and before it was over we had had a short but powerful downpour, but it was warm weather and somehow the scene fit with the ceremony. Following the service, I walked slowly out of section 64, a very meaningful section for me as this is where the victims from the Pentagon who were killed on Sept 11th are found. It was in those days following 9/11 that I started pondering, and looking back, decided to rejoin the military. My family was able to observe from a distance, their first and final time doing so. I was very touched by the kind words of blessing and farewell from honor guard folks who were out for that particular ceremony. I even had the LT who was so helpful to my wife when she catered the big luncheon for the Arlington Ladies commemoration serve as the Officer in Charge over the graveside portion of the honor guard.

I will truly miss Arlington. No doubts as to the truth of this fact. There is an extra special bunch of folks who serve there from those who serve in uniform to the civilian staff who work for the cemetery. As I said at my farewell, each person doing their job well makes it possible for each cermony to be perfect.

The pics are from my last ceremony.

Tomorrow is my last night at home with family for some time to come. It is hard to believe I'll be on a bird to Korea in 36 hours or so for a 12 month tour. I'm looking forward to the change of scenery and to the challenge of service and ministry in that location, but I will miss my family and my friends here. My wife and I went out and tried Korean food for the first time tonight in a local restaurant - very Korean, a bit of a taste in food and culture (including the fact that the folks who work/own the restaurant knew very little english). The food was wonderful. I even decided I like kimchee.