Last night I went to the funeral of a beautiful 29 year old woman. Her many demons finally overcame her and she took her life, the day after Christmas. Christmas trees and lights decorated the church where the funeral was held. Her ashes were contained in a yellow urn adorned with butterflies.
Her stepfather was a Vietnam Vet. A few weeks earlier, my wife had suggested we go out for dinner with her new friend and her husband. We met at a local restaurant and had a nice meal. Her new friend is a very attractive woman. Her husband was somewhat quiet and didn't look directly at me when he spoke. When my wife asked him what branch of service he was in, he stated that he was a Marine. We talked about the military, and then moved on to other things.
A week later, I told my wife I would like to get together with this couple again. I wanted to find out what was under this man's protective shield. I am a man. I understand what it is to be a man. I wanted to hear his story. I wanted to tell him that he could hold his head high for his service to his country. A Marine…….what an incredible stamp to have placed on you life.
My wife didn't like him. She said he was aloof and condescending. I said he needed a friend. After the funeral, it was evident that the last few days had taken its toll on him. When we talked with his wife alone, she thanked us for going out to dinner. She said it was the first time they had gone out with another couple, in the four years of their marriage.
Because of the downturn in the economy, he had lost his job and had sat at home for two years because of depression. My instincts were right. This man needed a friend.
After the funeral, the Marine whispered in my ear that the pastor was a former Green Beret in Vietnam. The sideways look in his eyes communicated to me the pride that he felt in making that statement. In that look, he said all that he needed to say.
I have met too many Vietnam Vets who returned quietly to civilian life and have kept a low profile ever since.
To you, who have served, I say; "Thank you for your service to the greatest country that has ever existed."
Find a friend. Start the New Year with a refreshed outlook on life. Get out and enjoy the beauty of nature that this wonderful country has set aside for you enjoyment.