Folding chair hard beneath me, I gaze at the silent oak before me. A strong and steady display, with limbs reaching out in comforting embrace. His cremated remains lie between me and tree.
The bitter sweet sound of taps heard in the autumn air. A dichotomy of heart-emotions, both sorrow and pride. And one silent tear falls before the silent oak.
“He must have done something real special in the war.“
“What do you mean?“
“A Colonel presented the flag at the graveside ceremony. That’s not done for just anyone.“
We checked the records; we didn’t know.
And the silent oak finally speaks the unspeakable from far beyond the grave.
* * * *
My father passed in October 2017. He was a decorated Korean War veteran, being one of very few who survived the infamous Battle of Chosin Reservoir in North Korea in 1950. He never spoke of it to his family. He did admit he hated having cold feet. When asked why, he simply said, “My feet were frostbit in the war.”
Thanking God that my father lived, that I might live, that my children might live, that my grandchildren might live. Remembering and honoring those who did not.
Remembering those who paid the ultimate sacrifice for justice and freedom.