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Cyrus Cassidy #45437

This Memorial Day is hard for me

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This Memorial Day, I'm remembering SPC Alexis Dos Santos. She was assigned to my headquarters company as a property book analyst. While going through a contentious divorce, she decided to take her own life on February 15, 2019. I haven't posted anything here because I've been trying to process everything myself.

On the day she died, I happened to be in Arizona for the funeral of another soldier who had died in an off-duty accident when I got the phone call. I went to the hospital, still in full dress uniform from the previous funeral, and spent the entire evening there with her two beautiful children. They were too young to understand they would never see their mother again, and it broke my heart.

I went into the hospital room where SPC Dos Santos was being kept alive. The hospital staff told me they were merely keeping her alive long enough for her mother to arrive, at which time she would get a few last moments with her and then be removed from life support. The mother arrived about 10 pm, and SPC Dos Santos was taken off of life support and passed within minutes.

A few weeks later I flew down to Biloxi, MS to attend her funeral. I found myself as the only white person in an all-black church in the deep South, so I was given a few sideways glances. I was also the only military person there, and because I looked different than anyone else in a part of the country where racial tension has been bad for two hundred years, people left a wide berth around me when we all sat down.

Then the pastor asked for anyone who wanted to speak about her. I got up and approached the microphone and told the family all about their little girl, mother, cousin, and friend. I told them what a great soldier she had been, and how her death had affected an entirely different family they had never met. The crowd's perception of me changed dramatically, and suddenly the racial tension was gone. I was grieving with them and did not matter what my skin color was or how I was dressed. We were all friends, and all grieving together.

At the graveside, I warned all the family members when the rifle shots were going to come, knowing they would jump otherwise. But there is something about those rifle shots that make the finality of everything very, very real. We all jumped anyway. Then the color guard folded the flag and gave it to me, and I handed it to her mother "On behalf of the President of the United States, the United States Army, and a grateful nation..."

It was by far the most difficult thing I've ever done.

I can handle getting shot at; in fact, I'd rather do that again (even not knowing the outcome) than have to hand another folded flag to a grieving mother.

SPC Dos Santos, I hope you found the peace you were looking for.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why I stand for the national anthem.
 
 
 

Dos Santos.jpg

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Posted (edited)

Bless you, Cyrus.  You're a good man and that was a wonderful thing for you to do, even though it was very difficult. 

 

SPC Dos Santos, may you rest in peace.

Edited by Calamity Kris
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God will bless you for what you did.  With that one eulogy you managed to cover one of the corporal and three of the spiritual Works of Mercy.

For SPC Dos Santos, 


 

O God of spirits and of all flesh, Who hast trampled down death and overthrown the Devil, and given life to Thy world, do Thou, the same Lord, give rest to the soul of Thy departed servant in a place of brightness, a place of refreshment, a place of repose, where all sickness, sighing, and sorrow have fled away. Pardon every transgression which she has committed, whether by word or deed or thought. For Thou art a good God and lovest mankind; because there is no man who lives yet does not sin, for Thou only art without sin, Thy righteousness is to all eternity, and Thy word is truth.

For Thou are the Resurrection, the Life, and the Repose of Thy servants who have fallen asleep, O Christ our God, and unto Thee we ascribe glory, together with Thy Father, who is from everlasting, and Thine all-holy, good, and life-creating Spirit, now and ever unto ages of ages. Amen 

May He Who arose from the dead, Christ our true God,  establish the soul of His servant who has  been taken from us, in the mansion of the righteous; give him rest in Abraham’s bosom, and number her among the just; and have mercy on us, forasmuch as He is good and loves mankind. 

Grant rest eternal in blessed repose, O Lord, to Thy servant who has fallen asleep, and make her memory to be eternal!

 

 

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not all wounds are visable but the cause damage all the same and the pain and suffering is not contained to the person themselves.

 

prayers for all affected by this and similar events

 

 

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Wow.

 

Just wow.

 

Sadness and grief intertwined with the greater ability to express love ringing true in the hearts of strangers. 

 

Thank you for sharing your story.

 

 

 

 

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Funerals are absolutely the hardest duty. 

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Thanks for posting such a Memorial eulogy.

 

Our Warriors face difficulties on foreign shores and here in the homeland and we should never grow weary

or lazy in our Prayers for them and their families.

 

..........Widder

 

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My heart goes out to you and her brothers and sisters in arms.  Her children and blood family. 

 

This is is becoming a real epidemic for us.  

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3 hours ago, Dantankerous said:

Wow.

 

Just wow.

 

Sadness and grief intertwined with the greater ability to express love ringing true in the hearts of strangers. 

 

Thank you for sharing your story.

 

 

 

 

 

What Dan said.

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I say again, this is a difficult day.

 

 

To all those who were there and can read these threads or can hear them read,

 

Welcome Home

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WOW !!!

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I spoke the final words over my friend's box.

He'd been a Marine in d'Nam and he was my police partner and a fellow EMT.

Neither of us had two nickles to rub together but what one had, he split with the other: the CD Carry Out had sausage dogs for ten cents and that kept our ribs from rattlin' together many a dark night.

When you describe handing that folded flag with the solemn words, I had to stop and take a long breath and wipe my eyes.

Bless you, my friend: it's hard duty we do, but we do it, because we must.

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On 5/25/2019 at 5:38 PM, Utah Bob #35998 said:

Funerals are absolutely the hardest duty. 

I think death notifications are harder.  It only happened once for me.  Just a young Chaplain and I went to tell the lad's wife and son and I got through it okay, but the next week was pure hell.

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