3 little boys buried their Daddy today. Their mom buried her longtime love. A military funeral is heartbreaking on so many levels. The ceremony is made up of military traditions, the folding of the American flag that had recently covered the casket, the reading of the medal citations, the three gun volley, the Final Roll Call, the bagpipes, the presentation of the flag and the medals- "On behalf of the President of the United States and a grateful nation....".
Notwithstanding the obvious, the problem with military funerals that are occurring these days is the young age of the dead. Today he was 35 years old, but since October 2001, our military cemeteries have been filled with young men and women 18, 22, 26. No parent should bury a child and no one should die so young, but war brings that to a country and it's so sad.
Some days I wonder why I attend funerals of the fallen but one thing I know for sure is that one Gold Star family attended Ken's memorial and it was a tremendous help knowing that someone really, truly knew what my heart felt like that day.
Today, the city of Gilroy, California turned out to show their respect for Ssgt Gutierrez, who was killed in Afghanistan on Christmas Day. The schoolchildren lined the sidewalk waving small American flags as the hearse carried SSgt Gutierrez to his final resting place. Citizens took a moment from their day to stand and watch the funeral procession go by, to honor this young man, who they probably hadn't known, but they did know the right thing to do was to share in this families grief, even for a moment.
We who attended the funeral mass and the burial did share their grief today. The most heartwrenching moment of the day was hearing the sobs of the oldest son, Andrew as the flags were being presented to the family. How do you explain to your children that their daddy is never coming home?
My thoughts are with the family and friends of David Gutierrez during this difficult time. I am so sorry for your loss.