The Best There’s Ever Been Part 3 - Soapbox Jr.
I have to say I’m floored over the reaction to the past two soapboxes chronicling the passing of my father. It seems that Part 2 touched a lot of people as many have said they cried as they read it, which sounds about right, I cried as I wrote it. I’ll have one more soapbox chronicling the week of dad’s passing, and then I’ll see what else might be rolling around in my head that can be put into print.
Back to that terrible week of July 6th…
The day following dad’s death was tough, as you could imagine. Mom and I were both still in shock and numb, but we had things that had to be done.
We met with the funeral director to make arrangements, thankfully some of the core CDB staff was there to help with the logistics because mom and I were both still in shock. We got a plan, together, and it was decided that Wednesday would be a CDB family and friends visitation, but the City of Mt. Juliet was also planning something the same night, but more on that shortly. Thursday would be an all-day public viewing at the funeral home and the funeral would be on Friday at World Outreach Church in Murfreesboro, where mom and dad often went when they were not on the road.
The Wednesday visitation would be even harder for my mom as it was also the day of her birthday, but there was no way that she was going to feel like celebrating anyway, but I hated that she might forever associate her birthday with dad’s passing, but not much that could be done about that.
While mom and I were getting ready to go to the funeral home for our visitation, the City of Mt. Juliet was putting together a celebration of dad’s life outside the funeral home with some guest speakers and performances. I was a little concerned at first because we weren’t sure how things outside might spill into the funeral home, because I wanted her to be able to grieve and visit with friends and CDB family.
We saw lots of people we had not seen in months, or years, which is understandable after everyone was in lockdown for several months, and there were tears… LOTS of tears.
There was an American flag draped over dad’s casket and at the end of the visitation, two United States Marines from the Honor Guard stepped to each end of dad’s casket, one of them pulled the flag over the top of the which had previously been open for viewing, then in true military fashion, the Marines lifted the flag, and began to fold it until it was in the shape of a triangle. Then one of them escorted mom to a chair outside of the funeral home where the crowd was gathered, and I followed along behind them, and was seated next to my mom.
The military salute to my father was just beginning.
Two Black Hawk helicopters flew overhead as the crowd watched, followed by a 21 Gun Salute.
The flag that had just been folded was reverently passed between different members of the military Honor Guard, and retired Lt. Gen. Keith M. Huber, who is the Senior Advisor for Veterans and Leadership Initiatives at Middle Tennessee State University, including the Charlie and Hazel Daniels Veterans and Military Families Center on the MTSU campus, presented my mom with the flag that had been folded inside the funeral home, then I was presented with a flag as well, but sadly I don’t remember his name, but I can’t even remember my own name half the time the past couple of weeks. It was all surreal.
Then Maj. Gen. Max Haston, the Adjutant General for the Tennessee National Guard, presented mom with a Tennessee State Flag, folded and already in a glass case.
Then a bugler played “Taps” and a bagpiper played the sweet sounds of “Amazing Grace,” as mom and I held hands trying our best to hold back tears, but not doing a very good job.
I know dad would have been moved by tears, as we were, at the gratitude that our armed forces showed him for years of support. As my dad has said on many occasions, that from an early age he realized that only two things protected America, “The Grace of Almighty God, and the United States Military.”
There were many more festivities, but my mom was exhausted so I wanted to get her home as soon as possible, so we left before Gov. Mike Huckabee and others spoke, along with performances by Daryl Worley, Tracy Lawrence and Trace Adkins, among others. Sadly, we also missed a recorded voice message from President Trump expressing his condolences on the loss of my father to my mom and I. I’m hoping to get a copy of that at some point.
We also missed one other amazing thing by leaving early.
All over social media, I saw pictures posted of a rainbow over the funeral home, and then a couple of days later, I saw a photo that someone had taken of what appeared to be a cowboy hat in the clouds somewhere near Crossville, TN.
Those are just a few of the “God winks” that have been happening recently, and after my soapbox next week on the day of the funeral, I will probably share some of those “winks” with you.
Until next time.
What do you think?
Pray for our troops, our police, our county and the peace of Jerusalem.
God Bless America
— Charlie Daniels, Jr.
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