Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend, 2009

Four years of blogging have stacked up several links for all the major holidays.
Last year's Memorial Day post was a repository for half a dozen links for readers who have time to visit and read.

This year I'm adding another piece collected in June, 2005, from a soldier blog, Ramrod's Blog, from Iraq. This man's words capture the strength, spirit and pain which are the price we ask our young people to pay when we send them in uniform on missions that often take their lives or leave them damaged when they return.

The Memorial Service for SPC. Anthony Cometa was held today at 1500 at the Chapel in Zone 1 at AJ.

Alot of other people from other units were there, a lot of high brass was there too. They had the typical Rifle in the ground with Kevlar and Dogtags hanging from the buttstock. The service went with a singing of the national anthem and an opening prayer. Then the commander talked about Cometa. After him, his 3 of his friends; 2 of em were the bandmates, talked about Tony.

Even at that point it didn't quite hit me. It was sad, the whole ordeal, no way around that. I mean, he was a friend, someone I personally knew, and someone that I would not see for a long long time. Yet; it still seemed unreal.

But then the Final Roll Call came. I've never been to a memorial service before, so I didn't really know what to expect. I didn't really think much of what the Final Roll Call would be like.

The 1SG of our unit came up to the front; we were all called to the position of attention, and he shouted out the names:

"SGT. Allman! HERE, First Sgt"

"SPC. Collins! HERE, First Sgt"

"SPC. Cometa......"at that point, for some reason, I broke.

"SPC. ANTHONY COMETA" tears starting welling up....

"SPC. ANTHONY S. COMETA... Final Call... Dropped from Roll Call"

In my head, my mind was yelling out, Answer up Tony... but I knew why there was no answer....

They then proceeded to play "Taps" while the 21 Gun Salute was performed.

I haven't cried like this for as long as I can remember.

When we finally sat down, I got ahold of myself, wiped the tears off, and collected myself.

We had a final prayer and the procession was over. All the people at the ceremony then proceeded to walk by Tony's picture and Rifle display for a final rendering of the salute. Our unit went last. I walked up, looked at Tony one last time, Saluted my fellow "ex-PV2" and said goodbye.

That was that...

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