In Memory of SGT JOSEPH HILL JR.
My friend lost his friend recently ~ this is what Garrett wrote to honor his friend, and to begin his healing process of grief. Poignant, and a fitting tribute, have a hanky ready.
"That day the sun shown bright, and the wind blew lightly. It was a beautiful day, and yet the most somber of my life.
The same flag we wore on our shoulders with pride, is now draped over you. The wind dare not move this one though.
We went to hell on the other side of the world, and made it back whole. We all came home, and were supposed to grow old.
A hodgepodge group gathered. We became brothers, bound by war, and something more. Now brought together again by our loss and grief.
You and I went to the gym together, breaking our bodies down, to rebuild them stronger than they've ever been. We had to be stronger; for our brothers, for our jobs, and for ourselves.
Upon your family's request, I carried a new weight that day. This weight I could never train for. No matter what, you will always be the heaviest weight I'll ever bear.
My hand gripped the cold metal handle of your casket that barely hid under that draped flag. My heart grew heavy, my eyes filled with tears, and my hands shook before my grip tightened.
The six of us slowly carried you in, and gently set you down. I faced you again, knuckles white, not ready to let you go. The colors of the flag grew darker as it soaked in my tears.
That day went on. Our procession brought us to a field of carved white stones, and flags at half-mast. Once again, I stared at you. Rather, I stared at the flag that rested so pristinely over you. We protected it for years together, and now it protects you.
I stood, surrounded by our brothers and best friends, body erect yet trembling. I composed myself to render my final salute to you. My hand met the corner of my brow, and through tears I said goodbye to you.
I will miss you dearly Joe, and your smile, laughter, love, and our brotherhood will remain forever in my heart. Rest in peace my dear friend."