....our friend and comrade in arms and blogging Captain Carroll “Lex” Lefon, USN (ret) is to be interred at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery in San Diego, CA.
I really don’t know what to say about a man such as Lex only that his passing has left a hole in my soul, and that I am jealous of anyone who is able to be there today to wish our friend farewell. For those that are there, you shall meet him once again, but we all will continue to miss him. In the days to come, just as they have over the past few weeks, many of us will gather by the fireside, our favorite beverage in hand, for strength of course, and our hearts will swell as we recount the stories past that flowed from his gifted pen. Today there will be wreathes of glory upon him, and though they may temper our pain, they will not end our longing for this to have passed us over.
We miss Lex because he was a part of us. Through his words he touched each of us in a way that only a true wordsmith ever could. He welcomed us all as friends and escorted us into his parlor for to sit for a while and talk about the events of the day, to tell sea stories and even to discuss his personal trials; and now for us left behind those friendly chats are over, only to be recounted in our memories and gatherings.
For ten years now this country has been at war and for many of those years Lex was a part of the effort to defend freedom everywhere, but even in retirement, Lex continued to serve his country. Now for Lex the war is finally over, for the rest of us the reckoning is yet to come. We must never forget that thousand of the finest our Country can produce have given their last full measure in service to our Country and our Ideals, but we must also remember that while the cost is great, nothing worth having is ever comes without a cost. Yet for us, the friends of Lex, the cost compares little to the cost incurred by the family he leaves behind.
Forevermore, the Lefon family will have an empty chair at their table. The holidays will forever be tainted by the “what ifs” and the “could have beens”, anniversaries will be less sweet, and celebrations will be a little less celebratory. All of us will return to our homes tonight and sleep soundly in our beds, but for the Lefon’s there will always be a vacancy in their house.
For those of us that cannot attend the proceedings today to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with our comrades, for to offer one final salute to the man that brought us together, let us now take this oath, to never forget. We must remember those who have gone on before us, and realize that to forget diminishes us as humans. We must fight the human urge to become complacent in our daily routines, to return once again into self-centered individuals so caught up in our own daily lives that we can’t even realize that the traffic is backed-up because another warrior is being led to his final rest. We must realize that these are the ideals which drove Lex, the ideals he wanted us to know about, the qualities that made him the man he was and that he hoped, perhaps unconsciously, or perhaps it was his intent all along - to impart upon us all.
Today, at the appointed time, stand with me, raise your glass, and offer your salute to Lex, our absent companion and to all our absent companions.
“To us and those like us! Damn few left.”
I’ll miss you Lex, I only hope that when I grow up, I can be half the man you showed me I could be.