After the long drive down there, the chapel stood tall....I've been in it many times before, but never did I think I'd be in it for this reason. The United States Air Force Academy did an outstanding job of honoring one of their own, and it made my daughters feel so loved yesterday. If you'd like to know more about the construction of the chapel and why it looks the way it does, please click on this LINK. It's quite interesting.
The female chaplain who officiated the service was incredible. We spent a couple of hours this week talking about my former spouse's life and his relationship with his children and with me. She learned of the joyous times and them most difficult of times. She learned of his hobbies, his joys, his passions and with that, she created a series of Bible passages, words of reflections, meditations, and messages that helped to create a sense of peace for our family. Even though our marriage did not last 'til death do us part,' we did spend 28 years together (in total), 21 of which were in marriage, and I felt that I needed to honor his life for my daughters and for him, especially since the tragic circumstances surrounding his death left much to be desired in the way of honoring ANY human life.
The flags at the AFA were all flown at half staff. An honor guard played taps and there was a 21 gun salute. We chose Josh Groban's 'You Raise Me Up' as one of the songs to be played, along with "When I Cry" by the Gaither Vocal Band. My middle daughter wanted "I Can Only Imagine" by Mercy Me. I spoke for about 5 minutes and my youngest daughter spoke a bit longer. A few of his cadet graduate friends came to the service who live in the area, including a 3-star general and his wife. Some people I hadn't seen in years, and it was uplifting and comforting to see them there. Afterward, we had a reception at my oldest daughter's house who lives about 10 minutes from the Academy. There, we all shared memories and the sadness turned to laughter....smiles, healing. It was absolutely wonderful....
I wasn't able to capture any of the photos during the service as it was way too emotional; however, I captured some photos on the drive there so you can see the chapel and the chaplain took a family photograph. Rod and I spoke of whether or not he should be there; he wanted to support us in the best way possible and I felt it best that he stay at home and let us deal with this one the way we went through it.....the girls and I. Two of my daughters are married. Their husbands were there, along with my middle daughter's boyfriend, who, in my opinion, can join the family any time he is ready....(he's a blessing, indeed)
One of my granddaughters was there, too. We felt that the 6 year old might not be able to understand all the tears for someone she had never met. I hope that we can now move forward and count our blessings even louder than before.....life is short.....enjoy each and every moment. xo Joann
|The Colorado Springs area did not get as much snow as we got|
|the stationary aircraft on the USAFA grounds|
|the snow-covered playing fields with the chapel in the distance|
|approaching the chapel|
|middle and youngest daughters say prayers after the service|
|granddaughter stands beside the flowers and photographs|
|My daughters and I|
|the back of the church and the huge pipe organ that the organist played for us during the service|
|the family who came to the service|