Sometimes It's Difficult to do the Right Thing

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RSteve

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There's a funeral today at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery. I was asked to attend. It's graveside and the windchill is -26. About 20 years ago, the deceased, who I knew socially, asked me if I, with another friend, would cater his wedding. He said he wanted a nice wedding for his bride-to-be, who had never been married, but he was not in a financial position to hire a caterer. He would reimburse us for all expenses, including hired servers.
To make a long story very short, after the wedding, he and his wife skipped town and I was out a lot of money. I heard the marriage ended within months of the wedding and I didn't hear from or see the guy for at least 10 years. When I did run into him and confronted him over stiffing me for the expense of the wedding, he said he was broke, living on V.A. compensation and Social Security and just walked away from me.
He was a veteran and I feel attending is the right thing to do. He apparently has no family living in MN. But it's bitter cold and I am still angry that he had no intention of reimbursing me for expenses. The wedding was for about 150 guests, with a costly dinner menu. Maybe some of those guests will show up at the burial, but I doubt it.
 

RSteve

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Maybe some of those guests will show up at the burial, but I doubt it.
About 30 people were at the burial, beautifully done by Fort Snelling staff and volunteers. Some attendees commented that they had been at the wedding and that the marriage didn't last two months. Surprisingly, that ex-wife was there and accepted the flag and citation presented during the funeral.
Although the burial was relatively short and I was wearing arctic pac boots, a long down jacket, and a thermal balaclava, I am still thawing out almost 90 minutes later. Needless to say, the funeral wasn't at the actual gravesite, but at an assembly area. I was told that the actual burial might not be accomplished for a couple of days, that there were special heaters on the gravesite to warm the ground sufficiently to dig a grave.
I am somewhat curious why the burial service wasn't indoors in the Fort Snelling chapel.

I do want to say this graciously...To the volunteer rifle squad, color guard, and bugler, thank you, and to every woman and man who volunteers at all V.A. facilities, my most sincere gratitude. We veterans answered the call, whether combat veterans or stateside clericals, we answered the call for our country. We did what was asked and ordered.
 
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Ranger107

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While I respect your loyalty to him as a veteran, I don't think I would have been so gracious. The fact that he disrespected you by not fullfilling his obligation after he asked you for a favor would have taken him off my friends list. Unfortunately not all veterans are of good chsracter. You shouldn't lose your integrity shen you take off the uniform. JMHO.
 

Ranger107

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I am reminded of an old saying. Beauty is only skin deep but ugly goes clear through. A mans character and integrity are not displayed by what he wears on the outside but by what is inside him. By his words, deeds, and actions. Your friends actions did not warrant your respect regardless of his military status. His principles died long before he did.
 

RSteve

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I am comfortable with my decision to attend. One of my closest friends, who was a H.S. classmate and friend of my late wife and has been my friend, forever, is Army retired, 27 years, Command Sergeant Major. His comment was, "He (the deceased) was not socially or professionally successful in later life. We don't know what his tours in SE Asia did to him, but he served, and we should respect his service."
I'm really okay with that.
 
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