|Photo Courtesy - Kaycee Mackley|
On November 6, we lost our Dad, Grandfather, Uncle, and Friend! My father took his last ride in the back of a semi-tractor. He was an over the road trucker for 30 years and it seemed appropriate to have his friends and co-workers take him to his final resting place.
My Dad was a horseman. He successfully raised champion Appaloosa horses for many years. He was never happier than if a horse was in his midst. Imagine our surprise when, on the way to the cemetery, a herd of horses lined up at the fence like soldiers and saluted him. As soon as the truck passed, a big palomino reared up and the rest of the horse followed suit. It felt like they were honoring a man who has cared deeply for their friends for so many years.
After serving our country in the Army, my father continued his patriotic service all of his life. He served in many community boards and organizations. He served as a Union steward and was active in the Democratic party. This is the first year in 58 years that he did not vote. As his children, we were required to vote. If you didn't, you certainly did not tell Dad. He believed in his President (regardless of party affiliation) and was infuriated when someone defaced the name of the President of the United States.
My father was buried with full military honors. He would not participate in Veteran benefits. He believed that his country had given him enough by letting him serve it.
Yet, at his death, they came. Two active duty Marines in full dress. They met him at the gate of the cemetery and escorted him to his final resting place. Struggling to keep their emotions in check, they reverently folded the flag that represented the country that he loved with a vengeance. In the slow, methodical preparation of the flag, they showed immaculate training in their duties. From the carefully executed salutes to the presentation of the flag to my brother (a 20 year veteran of the US Air Force), they created a beautiful tribute to their fallen brother.
Though this time is difficult and I miss my Dad terribly, I can only wonder at the reunion happening in heaven right now. There are so many people he hasn't seen for a long time. They haven't heard his stories. He has so much to tell them.