Day is done, gone the sun,
From the hills, from the lake,
From the skies.
All is well, safely rest,
God is nigh.
Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
May the soldier or sailor,
On the land or the deep,
Safe in sleep.
Do those words look familiar? Probably not but the tune is enduring — Taps. As the strains of the bugler played the familiar melody at Dad’s funeral this week, tears streamed down my face. Serving in the Navy for over two years active duty followed by twenty years in the reserves, I grew up watching my dad proudly honor and respect his country. In fact the only request that he mentioned was to be sure and have the Navy Hymnplayed at his funeral.
We woke up to a rainy, gray day. I prayed that God might bring let the sun shine for Dad’s service. Dad was of the greatest generation and always dressed in coat and tie so it was fitting that all the guys in the family wear patriotic ties. The casket was simply covered with an American flag. Family and friends gathered under the canopy.
His pastor led the graveside service interspersed with remembrances and anecdotes by his children, grandchildren, and great granddaughter. Punctuated by the full military honors that he received, the hills reverberated wiht the pops of the rifles by the honor guard, the haunting melody of TAPS, and the folding and presentation of the flag to me are etched forever in my memory. Perhaps, it was the releasing of the doves that gave closure for me. I know that Dad has been set free from the brokenness and pain of his body and has flown into the arms of Jesus.
For everything there is a season,
a time for every activity under heaven.
A time to be born and a time to die.
A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
A time to grieve and a time to dance.
Ecclesiastes 3:1,2,4 (NLT)
Remember my prayer? The light shone down as the flag was unfurled and displayed before us.
Yes, God is good.
Rest in peace, Dad.