Today we buried my uncle at the age of 87 in New Jersey. He was the husband of my aunt – my father’s sister.
During World War 2 he was a gunner on B-17’s flying over Europe. At the wake, there was a photo of him holding a .50 cal. Machine gun. The photo was taken in Utah during his basic training. A great photo of him.
After his discharge, he married my aunt and had two children – one is a lawyer and the other an accountant. He was a member of the local Knights of Columbus council – 4th Degree.
The funeral home did a very professional job. The priest and the deacon did a wonderful job. At the cemetery, the Air Force provided a Burial Detail/Honor Guard – a Senior Airman and an Airman Basic – to fold and present the colors to my aunt.
For me, that is when it became the saddest – when the Senior Airman presented the colors to my aunt “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Secretary of Defense, and a grateful nation as a token of appreciation for the honorable and faithful service rendered by your loved one.”
As we were walking back to the cars, my father (a World War 2 veteran himself) asked about the Burial Detail. I informed him that all veterans are eligible for this ceremony, including him when the time comes (and I hope that is not for many years).
It is my understanding that over 1500 World War 2 veterans die each day in the US.
As we close the year, let us take a moment to thank God for those who have served and to ask Him to watch over those who currently serve.
Armed Services Prayer
O God, almighty and most gracious, we acknowledge your dominion on earth and in the heavens, and the infinite love manifest in your relationship with all people. As the Creator you have made the world and invited us to share in its development; as the Redeemer, you saved the world and invited us to participate in its salvation.
Give to the men and women of the Armed Services the wisdom and courage to so live and sacrifice that, with justice maintained and true liberty safeguarded, all people everywhere may be possessed of that peace which you alone can give. As they are called to engage in dangerous missions, be with them, their constant support and their ultimate goal. May they know your continuous care and protection as they give of themselves that others may know security and peace. Amen.
Our Lady, Queen of Peace, pray for us!