Some people live and breath military. Everything about them screams the fact that they were part of the armed forces and that they love the red, white, and blue. From his hair cut to the faded blue tattoos on his arms, my Grandpa was a Navy man. And oh the stories he could tell. My favorite will always be when they were in port next to a Scottish ship and my Grandpa wanted to see if they wore “panties” under their “skirt”. Yep, my Grandpa was a rough and tumble Navy man. And nothing made him prouder than his children and grand kids that served.
There is something about older military men. They have an undying loyalty that we don’t see in today’s military. My Grandpa is the reason I chose the Navy. The way he talked about being on the Ocean made it seem like one of the greatest feelings in the world. I’m sure in his mind, he glorified the bad, but I can’t say I don’t agree with him. When I was still in the service, I was asked to be part of a burial at sea. It was cold and windy, and nobody wanted to do it, accept me. It seemed like the greatest honor I could give to someone who lived military. It was one of the best experiences in my life. The sound the the 21 gun salute, the rocking up and down of the ship, the spray of the icy sea on my face as I stood at attention. But most of all the family. The family who loved this die Hard Navy man, were standing there so grateful that we were there. I talked to one or two of the members and they did remind me of my own Grandpa. The greatest joy in his life had been the sea.
This memory can flooding back when my Grandpa died. My Grandfather was an old school Navy man. To his dying breath he was loyal to the Navy and everything it stands for. Honestly? There is a lot I don’t know about my Grandfather. Does he have a middle name? How old was he really? How long did he actually serve in the military? But when it comes down to it, it doesn’t matter. My Grandfather was an energetic and spunky man. He was loving and full of colorful stories. It’s been a rough couple of weeks, but he’s been ready for heaven for a long time now. He was not a perfect man, but he was perfected in grace. I have never met someone so ready to be with Jesus.
I wasn’t able to make it to the funeral, it was to far for me to drive in the short time frame I had. I didn’t want to send flowers, because flowers wilt and I’m sure there were plenty there. My Grandpa loved two things beside all of us kids. He loved Jesus, and he loved the military. Thanks to my family, he had a military burial. Memories of the burial at sea made me think I needed to make sure there was something personal to honor my Grandpa’s time in service. My Grandpa would have never worn a baseball cap, so that was out of the question, but he needed something with dignity, that showed his love of the military. So I sent the only thing I could think of to honor his memory. I went to the military store and found a Petty Officer First Class pendant. Hubby and I rushed it to the mail to make sure it would get there in time, and I had my dad call when it arrived.
Although my dad is a veteran as well, he said he didn’t feel right pinning a Navy pin on a man that it meant so much to. Thankfully my cousin who had also been in the Navy, was able to attend. After the opening prayers, my cousin took the pin and placed it on the suit of this great man. My dad said it filled what was missing at the funeral. That final goodbye in the death of a Navy man.