Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Old Soldiers Never Die . . .

Silas Richard Barker
1916 - 2011

         My father passed away on May 5, 2011, at the good age of 94.  He would have been 95 on May 15th.  For many years my Wednesdays were spent visiting him at the retirement home in Baton Rouge where he had lived - off and on - for about fifteen years. 

 He was a restless soul in many ways.  He moved in and out of the retirement home several times during those fifteen years.  Maybe he just wanted a change of scenery - but he always returned and that's where he spent his last days.  He wanted to be buried in Emory, Virginia, beside my mother so we made arrangements for his body to be flown there.

As long as I'm alive, I don't plan to get in an airplane so we made our plans to make the long trek by car.  I felt like I had a little bit in common with the Joseph of the Old Testament who told Pharaoh, "Now let me go and bury my father; then I will return." (Genesis 50:5)  I have buried my father in Virginia and returned to Louisiana, and life goes on.  I miss him and will, no doubt, miss him even more in days to come - especially on Wednesdays.  But I'm grateful for his good long life and that he was up and about, in reasonably good health, until the last few weeks. 

He served as a 1st Lieutenant in the United States Army during World War II.  He was wounded in the Philippines and received a Purple Heart.  There was an Honor Guard at the cemetery.  As the three rifle volleys sounded, I thought of that old saying, "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away."  Godspeed, Daddy.


Anonymous said...

Dear, I understand your pain, Jerry.

Chrissy Royster said...

What a great picture of Uncle Si.

Chrissy Rhoads Royster

Judith B. Landry said...

Thanks, Chrissy and Jerry.