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Your battles inspired me – not the obvious material battles but those that were fought and won behind your forehead.  
James Joyce

This is to the soldier on the last battle field.

In my mind, it’s like the scene from “Gladiator” with our fallen hero in the Coliseum. The lady he’d loved and lost stood in front of his body and said to the crowd: “He was a soldier of Rome. Honor him!”

My father-in-law passed away last week, and I’ve been wondering what his journey to the next world might be like.

Admittedly, I’ve got no idea what happens after we leave this earth. I’d like to think it will be more of a “Homegoing” than a time for sackcloth and ashes.

A friend once told me she believes that we go to the place we’ve always regarded as home, even if we’ve never been there.

For my mother, it would have been a log cabin. She always spoke of her dream of owning a little cabin in the woods with a fireplace and wood-burning stove.

For my father, it might have been the bar from “Cheers.” He just loved that show, and his favorite joke became a call-and-response tradition for us every time I came for a visit. Dad: “If anyone calls for me, Coach, I don’t want to be bothered.” Me: “Who does?”

For my father-in-law, it could, paradoxically, be on the field of war. While he hated the fighting, he felt most like himself there. As a veteran of the Korean and Vietnam Wars, he was respected by his peers. He knew how to be a soldier. Get the job done. It made sense to him.

Life was clearer as a soldier. Here is the objective. Over there, the enemy. We’re doing this for those we left back home.

When he came home, he had to re-learn how not to be at war, and it wasn’t easy.

For our soldier who took the journey home, we honor you. May the angels stand at attention when you arrive. You fought the good fight, and now, rest. At ease.

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