Joe Montegna brought emotional reality to the Criminal Minds episode that aired last night, in memory of his forever friend and veteran actor, Meshach Taylor by honoring the character, Vietnam veteran, U.S. Marine Corps Sergeant Harrison Scott, who was a life-long friend of Montegna’s David Rossi character, also a Marine veteran.
We viewed a flashback to a young injured Rossi being provided encouragement from Scott. Any military person who took something positive away from their service experience will always remember one or two leaders who made a difference in their hitch or lives in general. I remember a good piece of mentoring in my earlier years from Chief Warrant Officer Kemp (I remember that he persuaded me to change my attitude); and of course, my dad, Aviation Boatswain’s Mate Fuels Chief, Lee LeBorgne – my forever life coach, mentor and friend.
Each of us who served in the military took away individual experiences. Some completed their first stint and moved back into civilian life, and/or reserve duty for a while. Some of us made it a career. I made it a career.
In the U.S. Navy, I experienced many adventures…yes, some were brought on by my own um…decisions. Nonetheless, I enjoyed many jobs and meeting many people along the way, most of who will provide life-long memories. I am still in occasional contact with a couple people that I served with, including John Sulin (USN Retired) and Sunyatia Burks (the last person I had the pleasure of training and who still on active duty).
I won’t go into the many jobs that I had but one stands out in particular that brings me back to the Criminal Minds episode from last night. While on active duty, I had the privilege of attending nineteen veteran funerals at which I presented the flag to their loved ones. Though I will never remember names, I quite often remember the faces of the mothers, wives, children and other family members that I presented the flags. Each of the following words were said with reverence and never a tear shed.
On behalf of the United States of American, the United States Armed Forces, The Department of (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force), I present you this flag in grateful recognition of your (family member’s) honorable service.
It has been 15 years since I retired (14 ½ until June) but I remember each of those words as though an artist engraved them into my wooden heart with a pyrography tool.
Last night, the tears that couldn’t and wouldn’t be shed during those past funerals flowed freely. Now, they flow for all of those who served when it is their time to depart.
You’ll forgive me if I don’t care about Jeff Gordon’s future plans.