Today we celebrated the life of my dear friend’s 98 year old father, a decorated veteran. I learned so much today about service, military honor, and what it means to love to serve. He was one of thousands who survived WWII but I KNEW him my whole life and never asked. As the color guard unfurled the flag taps played beautifully.(Fort Huachuca color guard).Tears rolled down my face as I realized the enormity of what he had done. When Sargent Kelly handed the flag to the family I lost it. I KNEW this beautiful man and never asked. How easy it is for us to never ask? This man always had a smile for me, a scrawny awkward little girl. He was my neighbor, father to my friends, and part of my life.
Some of my family members have served, some even active duty. It is popular to say to veterans”thank you for serving” but just saying it because one is supposed to isn’t enough. Today I FELT it. I felt his sacrifice. His life continued serving others even after he became a civilian. A 98 year old man has a lot to say with his actions if you pay attention. What he said to us is that what is important is family, loving, treating all people with respect. This simple man who I grew up knowing as the neighbor continues to teach beyond his life on this earth. Isn’t that just the kind of person you come across in the Bible?At the end of the service we sang an Irish toasting song, pouring a little of our spirits into a glass for him and then toasting together. I loved that. He would have loved that.
Here’s to you William Leek. Thank you & Well done.