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A Tribute

Hey all,

 

Okay, stick with me through this post and I promise that all the threads will come together at the end, lol…

 

Maybe it’s because I just buried my father this week…no, let me correct that, it is because I just buried my father this week that I’m thinking about eulogies.

 

We had a wonderful memorial for him last Saturday, and several people had a chance to share their memories of him, and how he had made a difference in their lives.

 

And, whenever I think about eulogies, I think of one of my all-time favorite movies, a beautiful little Irish Indy-film called “Waking Ned Devine.” (If you haven’t seen it, rent it, it’s awesome!)

 

I won’t give away the plot, but there is a funeral scene in the movie where the main character is giving a eulogy, and says…

 

“Michael Sullivan was my great friend, but I don’t remember ever telling him that. The words that are spoken at a funeral are spoken too late for the man who is dead. What a wonderful thing it would be to visit your own funeral, to sit in the front row and hear what was said. Maybe to say a few things yourself. If he was here now, if he could hear what I say, I’d congratulate him on being a great man, and thank him for being a friend.”

 

So now, fast forward to today…

 

There was a great article in the Oregonian today, titled “Face to face with a sense of purpose” by Professor Tom Bivins.

 

The article talked about how the writer had met several soldiers in a coffee shop at the Brook Army Medical Center at Fort Sam Houston, and had realized that these young men and women, these citizen soldiers, unlike so many of his own students, did not cling to the sense of “entitlement” that so many of the young people of this generation seemed to claim.

 

Bivins went on to write how many of us X-ers, seemed to assume a “divine right” to an education, a well paying job, and a preordained place in our social hierarchy.

 

He wrote (of the soldiers he met):

 

“There was no whining, no sense of lost entitlement. Instead, there was a sense of something else. Douglas MacArthur called it simply duty, honor, country…what I saw in those young faces was a sense of obligation that can only be discharged by a burden most of us would never freely choose to take up.”

 

Somehow, these two parts (this article and my father’s eulogy) combined and, as often happens, my brain spewed out a completely unrelated thought.

 

So, here is what I want to say, while I have the chance…

 

Van Zallee is my great friend, but I don’t remember ever telling him that. I want to speak some words that he will have a chance to read, and so understand what he has meant to me.

 

I have known Van for many years, and he has always been a man who sought to help and better those around him. Whether by coaching their volleyball games, teaching them the self-discipline of martial arts, or by training his fellow soldiers to defend our country in time of war, Van has always been my best example of a man who understands that his own obligation is to better others, and his “entitlement” is his opportunity to give back, not to take from.

 

He is a man who uses his own gifts and abilities, not to promote himself, but to help all of those around him improve themselves.

 

If he were here today, and could hear what I’m saying, I would tell him how proud I am of him, how much I love and respect him and, indeed, congratulate him on being a great man, a patriot, and a brave defender of all that he believes in.

 

Thank you, Van, for being my example and my friend.

 

 

Okay everyone, so here’s YOUR chance…

 

My mother, who passed almost twenty years ago, had a saying…

 

“If you think there’s praise that due them, now’s the time to give it to them. For they cannot read their tombstones when their gone.”

 

Please write a memorial to a friend, something you would someday say at their funeral, but would like to take the opportunity to have them hear from the “front row.”

 

Friends, parents, spouses, everyone is fair game. Feel free to use what I’ve written above as a template, and post your own tribute below.

 

Take it from someone who has just learned this: when the opportunity is gone, it is gone forever. Say it now.

 

Blessings,

 

-Perry

 

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5 thoughts on “A Tribute

  1. Dinana on said:

    Perry,

    You and i are truly sometimes birds of a feather…the movie in my DVD player right now is waking Ned Devine…I’m about 1/3 of the way thru it…

    Wise words from you my friend and your tribute to your dad was beautiful…and you know he knows how you felt.

  2. A reminder to have tissue handy before reading would have been helpful.
    What a heartfelt tribute to Van and a great reminder to verbalize our gratitude and appreciation now.

  3. Jennifer on said:

    Perry,

    What an admonisment! Thank you for sharing your heart. You are an amazing man of God. I thank the Lord you are in our lives. I only wish it were more. I will take your lead.

    PS- Van,
    I join in a crowd of many to salute you and extend to you my most humble gratitude for being who you are and wearing the uniform of a: soldier, father, husband, and frontline christian! I am proud of you and honored to call you a friend.

    -Jen

  4. A. L. S. on said:

    I first met Perry at a church in Clackamas. I was sitting in the service and the pastor’s wife was praying. This guy (Perry) got up and started mocking her during the prayer. I started to get up to do something when I realized that it was a sketch. I had never seen anyone do something like that in a church to get a point across. I walked up to him after the service and he was standing next to his girlfriend Vicky.

    I was very new in town and they took me in as a friend and more importantly a brother. I had no family in town to really speak of and I was lost in the aftermath of a terrible divorce wondering in thoughts of who I was. They loved me for me in spite of all the irritating issues I had. They have been a loving “example of the believers” to me and my family ever since. I can say with great confidence that if all Gods “Chosen” treated new people like those two treated me, our churches would have no more room to seat people.
    Thank you for encouraging a lost soldier on his journey.

    1Lt Van Allan Zallee

  5. Thanks for the reminder perkins. I would like to accept the challenge you gave and share a little about my dad.

    My dad loves me. I know this because he tells me all the time. He doesn’t say it in words so much, but he says it all the time. Don’t get me wrong, my dad says “I love you” often enough but his “love language” (get the book if you don’t have it) is service. He is not a flowery talker or a big hugger, he’s a garbage-taker-outer. He will stop what he is doing to help a stranger. If he has the lawn mower out he will mow the neighbors lawn too. After all, he already has the mower out. He gives very early morning rides to the airport. He delivers food boxes. He teaches sunday school. He works in the nursery. I’m sure he, like all parents, wonder if he did things right raising us. Maybe he wonders if he said “I love you” enough.

    Dad,
    Thanks for taking me to all those early Doctor appointments when I was a kid.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for packing my lunch.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for all the rides to school when I missed the bus.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for teaching my sunday school class.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for volunteering in the youth group.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for jogging with me after dark.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for leaving work early to watch a track meet.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for washing my car.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for parking on the street so I could park my car in the garage.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for the car!

    I love you too.

    Thanks for bringing me frostys when I was sick.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for driving across town to bring your grandsons favorite blanket home.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for working so hard so mom could be home with us.

    I love you too.

    Thanks for marrying mom. good call!

    I love you too!

    Thanks for making sure I always knew I was loved.

    I love you too!

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