21-Rifle Salute

Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta-Michigan

Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta-Michigan

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a military funeral memorial for a friend’s brother at Fort Custer National Cemetery. I was impressed by the orderly (almost reverent) way in which the United States flag was handled and meticulously folded. Every inch was precisely hand-pressed before the flag was presented to his widow. The sound of taps was heard in the distance as a bagpiper played Amazing Grace.          

All stood at attention when an honor guard squad shot three rounds in the air. One shot for his birth, the second shot honoring his military service, and the last round for his death.

This individual’s time on earth ceased when he breathed his last breath. But for those of us who heard the shells clink-clink on the pavement — we still inhale and exhale.

Family and friends chuckled as his sister reminisced about brother-sister antics while growing up. Others reflected on his fix-it ability and honorable service to his country and the community. Without a doubt, this man was loved and gave of himself to many people.

Their words caused me to consider my own life and motivation for doing what I do. What struck me was the finality of life. I’ll admit that the thought is somewhat frightening. I only have one chance to make a difference here on earth. Am I using my time wisely? I still have time to speak a kind word, make a new friend, and forgive a wrong.

Missionary C.T. Studd wrote a poem entitled Only One Life reflecting on life issues such as:

  • Brevity of life
  • Cleaving to God’s holy will
  • Asking: do I live for self or in His will?

We’ve only one life ~ it soon will be past ~ Only what’s done for Christ will last

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad” –                     (2 Corinthians 5:10).


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