Guest post tribute by Jethro
"As some of you know, a dear friend of ours was buried yesterday. We’ve both buried family members before and agree that this was the hardest funeral we’ve ever sat through. Sgt. Charles Kitowski III was killed by a road side bomb in Afghanistan.
I met Charles the weekend before he was supposed to start his first year of college. I walked down and knocked on the door of my old dorm room. This kid opened the door with a confused look on his face. I introduced myself and told him that I wanted to meet the person who was taking over my old dorm room. I then invited him for drinks at our beginning of the school year party. A new family was born.
We were always hanging out in one of our rooms, apartments, or homes. We studied together, played video games for hours, partied like you wouldn’t believe, and helped each other out when we needed we needed it. Charles was the kind of guy who would sleep on the cold, hard floor just so you could have his bed if you drank too much. In fact, he was the guy who put you into his bed.
We want to share with you just how dependable he was because that’s what made the funeral so hard. He had a constant smile and an infectious laugh. Despite our constant goofing around, there was always one thing he never joked about: his duty and service to country.
Charles had SO MANY friends that during the ceremony they acknowledged 2 families: the one he was born into and his college buddies. Luckily for Zelda and me, we were among the first dozen of the original college family.
We arrived at the church and noticed American flags being held all around the entrance by the Patriot Guard Riders. I walked up to one of them, shook his hand, and told him thank you for being here for our lost brother. I shed a tear.
At the service, I saw my brother brought in then led to his final resting place. Zelda and I shed several tears. As we were led to his grave site by the Patriot Guards and police, we passed several lines of people and children along the side of the road holding American flags. We saw several veterans saluting the caravan. Then, I saw 2 fire trucks with their ladders fully extended in a triangle honoring my brother. Zelda and I shed more tears.
At the site itself, the flag was presented to his parents and fiancé. Then, there was the hardest part for me: the 21 gun salute and Taps. I broke down. Then, I broke down again when I placed my hand on his coffin to say my final goodbye.
I miss you, bro. Save a nice cold one for me in the next life. Until then, rest in peace."
(Jethro's Blog: Chirotechnics)