I tried not to. Honest, I did. It’s been seven years. When will it be enough? Some day. How long is enough? Just a bit more.
I can still see it all (vividly) unfolding in front of me. I feel that helpless feeling. I can hear that moaning… that deep guttural moaning. The screaming and tears are still so real to me.
Is this me being unable to move on? I don’t know. And I don’t care… or do I?
I remember it all. Meeting the hearse at the airport and following it home. Going inside the funeral home for a bit. Buddy’s escort there with his body in that flag draped casket.
Returning the next day for our personal goodbye. I had my arm around her. She was standing a little bent forward, hands clasped at her chest. Me with my lef arm around her shoulder, my right hand on her right arm. She was weeping. “I can’t daddy.” It’s okay honey, take your time. Shuffling forward ever so slowly. Shuffling.
The flag is folded down. The casket open. We are finally close enough to see him. “He looks so peaceful,” she says. He is peaceful honey.
We are at his side now. Her head is cocked to the left and tilted forward. She puts her hands on his white-gloved hands. “I love him so much.” I know you do honey.
The final Home Coming of Sgt Buddy James DOC Hughie was very difficult. It left more questions than answers.
Here now, seven years later, we still grieve his untimely death. But we celebrate the life he once lived. We celebrate life with those left behind because that is what Buddy would want and expect. He died so that others could live. So live we must. Enjoy life we will. And remember that our American Hero will always be with us in some way or another.
Remembering the husband, the father, the son, the friend.
Saluting the Soldier:
SGT BUDDY JAMES DOC HUGHIE
KIA, FEBRUARY 19, 2007
TWO BRONZE STAR MEDALS (V)