This was the first funeral mission we have been able to attend, and it touched particularly close to home for both of us as Tony's son, who is now at Army Basic Training, is the same age as the fallen Marine that we were honoring. Our hearts ached for the family and friends, and it was wrenching for us after we arrived at the church, to see so very,very many bright and fresh-faced young people coming to show their respect for their friend who is gone now at such an early age.
We had to leave right after the funeral, as I had to work yesterday afternoon, and when I came home from work last night, I felt I was too tired to compose my thoughts coherently to post anything about this.
This morning, as I gather my thoughts to post about this very touching and moving experience, I am continuing to send up prayers for the family and friends of this fallen hero, and hope many others are doing the same.
Standing yesterday in the blustering wind and holding the flag of our country in honor of a young man who gave his life in service to our country, a young man I never had the privilege to meet in life but who is remembered with such love and affection and respect by those who knew him: I think I gained a deeper understanding of what respect and honor and love for our country mean. And for that, I humbly thank the family of Lance Cpl. Daniel Morris, who invited the Patriot Guard Riders to attend.
The memories of yesterday are......the solemnity of the first military funeral I have ever attended, the salutes of the veterans for their fallen comrade, the haunting bagpipe notes of The Marines Hymn and Amazing Grace, the stark sound of the 21 gun salute,
and the sound of Taps from the bugler, echoing across the rolling hills around an old brick church on a back road in the heart of small town America.
While I knew there would be moments that would bring tears to my eyes yesterday, what caught me completely unguarded were the people who stopped to thank those of us from the PGR for attending. I never expected or anticipated any thanks, and it was extraordinarily humbling to have several people in the midst of grieving take a moment to say 'Thank You' to us as they passed by.
As we stood holding our flags next to the walkway, the headstone across from us caught mine and Tony's eyes at the same time......the headstone of another soldier buried in this small cemetary, with the words
"2D Lieutenant, 317 Artillery, World War I ".
My heart sighed for a moment, thinking to myself "How long we have been burying those who served our country over the years"...and then it came to me that it was somehow fitting, that his family was laying this young hero to rest in the company of other heroes from other wars, on a hillside close to the home and family that he loved and wanted to protect by serving.
So,rest in peace, Lance Cpl. Daniel T. Morris, you served faithfully and well. My heartfelt thanks that you chose to serve.
Praying today that your family and friends will continue to be surrounded with comfort, strength, and peace in the days ahead.
The many links that I found today from area news organizations and bloggers:
God rest the soul of this fallen Hero, and all our Fallen.