A soldier's life.

On september 17th, 1915, a baby boy was born in a house in McLean Virginia, the youngest of seven children, and soon the favorite of his siblings. He grew up in a world of bright minds, and hard workers. He became a Chemist, and at the age of twenty, he lay in a tent, at the end of basic training, on a quiet Sunday, listening to the radio. It was December the seventh, 1941.

That young man volunteered for OCS, the next day, and was commissioned only ninety days later. He went to Africa, and eventually back to the United States. As he served in the Ordinance Corps, helping prepare the Army for the invasion he was invited to a dance, held by the base Officer’s Wives Club. There he met the young daughter of West Point graduate far over his own rank.

She had come with another officer, that evening. She chose to spend her evening in the elevator, dancing with this much older lieutenant, hiding from her date, and the General, her father. Her father was not particularly pleased with her choice, and her mother was more outspokenly against the idea. Not long after that, they were married, and he went back to the war. She went to live in the unaccustomedly modest quarters available to the wives of newly promoted Captains.

In the end, her parents learned to like the young man now a newly discharged Reserve Officer. Their first grandchild, a daughter, was probably influential in that change of attitude. The impending arrival of a second child caused a dramatic change of plans. The Captain put back on his uniform, and returned to active duty. The wars and the children continued to come, two more of the first, and four more of the second.

In 1965, with twenty years of service, in three combat zones, and a family of six children, the still young Colonel, and his still very beloved wife left military life, and he became a Chemistry teacher, which had been his intent all along. He taught, and became involved in the civilian community, and raised his children to think, and think for themselves. Much to his amazement, they all learned to do exactly that, and came upon outlooks, and opinions on life widely divergent from his own, and each other. They had joys, and tragedies, disputes, and bonds of love. And they lived happily.

Grandchildren began to come into their lives. The teacher, himself raised in the unchallenged racism of the south in the first half of the last century, found himself the grandfather of children of every race on the planet. But mostly, he was the grandfather of his grandchildren. Everyone changes. Some do it grudgingly, but now and then, you see someone do it with joy, and love.

The Colonel, and His Wife worked with young students for twenty years more, and then they retired a second time, and went off to build a house. They built it all themselves, with their own hands. Every block, every board, and every shingle. A labor of love, and a life of labor. Time passed, and joys and sorrows too many for a short story crowded the years.

Today the Colonel took one last quiet breath. His family is grieved, but is not willing to let go of the many joys of his life, and the legacy of fine people he helped come into the world, and grow to responsible adulthood. His wife survives, saddened for herself, but quietly accepting that he chose to forgo tedious extensions of life, at the cost of adding unhappy months eighty nine years of quiet happiness. He is survived by many good people, who remember his unfailing attention to duty, and loving willingness to help everyone he loved.

I love you dad, more than I have ever been able to say.



You’re a beautiful person.

What a touching tribute. I’m so sorry for you and your family, and most of all for your mother.
Your dad sounds like the kind of person we should all have in our lives.

I’m sorry for your loss. I’m glad that you can take comfort from knowing that the world is richer for your dad having lived in it.

That was a wonderful tribute, Trisk. I wish there was something I could say to make you feel better, but you know and I know that there’s not.

May he rest in peace :(.

gets all teary-eyed, goes to find tissues :frowning:

many, many hugs for Trisk

An eloquent eulogy. My condolences.

I’m tearing up now. Thats pretty embarrassing considering I’m in a room full of soldiers. My deepest sympathies. I know how hard a military life is on the whole family. That your father could keep the family together with such love and dedication is all that needs to be said about him. He sounds like a great man and I salute him.

Tris, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I’m glad you’re able to hang on to the good even as things seem bleak. I’ve said a prayer for you and yours.

May your children write you an eulogy as beautiful as the one you wrote for your father.

Beautifully written. Peace to you and yours.

God Bless, and many thanks and much respect from another former soldier.

Best wishes, Trisk.

This may sound foolish, but I am going to study your eulogy very closely, as I may soon have to write one, and yours is such a good model.

My deepest sympathies on your loss. :frowning:

My condolences.

I hope you are able to find strength and comfort in your friends, family, and faith.

Wow! For the first time, a post has made me cry. Condolences to your family and yourself. I can only hope that when I’m called upon for family or friend that I can be as eloquent.

Again, wow! A fitting tribute to a life well lived and apreciated.

Thanks to everyone for the expressions of condolance, and support, they are much appreciated. As for the praise of my words, well, it turns out it isn’t alll that hard to write a eulogy for someone who always tried to do what was right, and what was good. When you add to that a strong desire to actually do, rather than talk, it makes for a life easy to praise.

Today, I am going to a memorial service where I will be saying pretty much what I wrote here. Then we will put my father’s ashes aside, to wait for the moment when my mother’s remains will be mixed with his, and scattered in a place near the house they built together. I am told my mother wishes his service flag which would go to her under military protocol, to be presented to me.

Thank you, each and all for your thoughts, words, and prayers.


My thoughts and prayers are with you Tris. Some generations have good, solid, men. Some have their heroes. Your father sounds like both.

:: salutes ::