Saturday, October 15, 2011
The Arkansas State Veteran's Cemetery was composed of rolling hills, Fall painted trees and a small lake with a fountain bordered by a memorial to our war heroes replete with flags waving over the edge of the lake. The ceremony took place in a pavilion bordering the same lake. There were two marines at attention, holding the American Flag which was neatly folded. The minister was from Janelle's and Travis church and he was a tall elegant man with snow white hair who had the most wonderful kind expression on his face.
Brother Grey gave a wonderful sermon about the nature of death. He gave the analogy that death was like birth. The baby is content in its mother's womb with all that it needs to survive, but in order to pass into Life it must leave that safe haven. It does so and enters a totally new and better life. So the person dying must leave the safety of this life for a new one that is even better. We are afraid of this passage but it is just as natural as birth and just a normal passage into a new phase of "living".
After his sermon, the taps were played and the two marines unfolded the flag and refolded it into a perfect triangle. Then each Marine saluted it in turn and one of the young men went to the family and knelt on one knee. He presented the flag to Travis with the words "On behalf of the President of the United States,the Commandant of the Marine Corps, and a grateful nation please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's service to Country and Corps."
I have been to several military funerals, army, air force, navy and now marine. The ceremony never fails to touch my heart and make me so very proud of our country and the men who defend it. Rocky served in Viet Nam during the Tet Offensive when some of the most brutal fighting took place. He had a wonderful kind heart and loved and admired Herb. Herb had served in the Army ahead of Rock in Laos, Cambodia and Viet Nam. They had much in common in their shared feelings about the war and their love of family and country.
We will miss him very much.
His son Travis did a wonderful job of honoring him with such a beautiful service. Present for the service was his son Travis Crofford, ex-wife Janelle Crofford, his sister Judy Hennig, four cousins including us, and a sister in law. Melissa and Mike Catlett.