I attended a funeral yesterday for my Step-dad's Grandfather-in-law. I had met Ted just 2 times and never knew him when he was younger. Ted was born in 1923 and passed away last Friday. Ted served our country in World War II. Although he was dressed in his civilian clothing, the photographs that surrounded him were of family, friends, and his time in the service. Ted believed in God and is now in Heaven with his creator. I was moved by a note that Ted had written home from the war. It read:
I couldn't help but think how appropriate that was back then and how appropriate it is today. Ted is all well and safe. We shall not worry.
There was a military ceremony for him at the funeral. I found myself deeply moved with appreciation for Ted and all others who serve and have served our nation as 10 aged soldiers in uniform passed by his coffin, stood at attention, and slowly saluted this fallen soldier. Before the 21 gun solute, an elderly soldier gracefully spoke the following words:
"We are assembled here to pay our last tribute of respect to our departed comrade. When the call of our country was heard, comrade Cofer answered; self was forgotten in the cause of the greater good. As a brave man he marched away with an abiding faith in his god, his country and his flag.
The red of our country's flag was made redder still by his heroism; the white, more stainlessly pure by the motives which impelled him; and, in the starry field of our nation's glorious banner, the blue has been glorified by the service has has given for American Ideals.
One by one, as the years roll on, we are called upon to fulfill these sad duties of respect to our departed comrades. The present, full of the cares that beset all nations whether engaged in war or peace, fades away as we look back on the day this comrade left his home to defend his country. Imbued by a spirit of devotion and inspired by an undying love of his native land, he gladly went forth and joined with comrades both young and old to preserve our heritage of freedom.
We trust that the example set by our comrade will prove a glorious beacon to the youth of our country, who may be called to uphold the honor of our flag.
As the years roll on, we, too, shall have finished our fight, shall be laid to rest, and our souls follow the long column to the realms above, as all-enfolding death, hour by hour, shall mark his recruits.
Let us so live that when the keeper of the Eternal Records shall have called our names for the last time, those we leave behind may say of us, as we say of this comrade "here lied all that is mortal of a true-hearted comrade, and a fearless defender of his country and flag."
Thank you, Ted, for leaving such a beacon.