life in and around NYC is insane

Saturday, March 26, 2016

we salute you

The Rabbi pins the black ribbon onto Les' clothing, tears it, and recites the ancient Hebrew blessing.  Our small group make its way into the open-air chapel, decorated only with the seals of each branch of the US military forces.  It is a gray and chilly day, but the walls of the chapel provide protection from the wind.

The Naval honor guard -- two women in dress blues -- enters the chapel.  One flips a switch, and the sound of "Taps" fills the air.  They remove the flag from the coffin, fold it with military precision.    The taller woman presents the flag to Les, her voice soft and empathetic as she conveys the respects of the President of the United States.  Another member of the Greatest Generation, his service was 70 years ago, but was oh so important to him.

Then the Rabbi intones the ancient prayers, and I let the Hebrew wash over me...I didn't expect to be here today, I expected to be in synagogue, celebrating the happy holiday of Purim...

Les eulogizes his brother, the grief evident on his face.  He can barely make it through his remarks before breaking up...Pierina offers some remarks, lovingly remembering the brother-in-law who welcomed her into the family.

We end, of course, with the Kaddish.  I am still saying Kaddish for my father, and now we are saying it for Marvin.

And then some healing begins.  Drew and Jen and Les and Pi start a group hug.  They call Shelley over, and she becomes part of the group.

We walk back to our cars.  And as we drive away I seee the next funeral already filling the chapel.  Military precision indeed.

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