Friday, March 31, 2006

Good Bye, COL Bernard

A couple of entries ago, I wrote about an ex-Brigade Commander who passed away during the biathlon last Sunday. Today I attended COL Bernard's funeral at Mandai Crematorium.

This is the 3rd military funeral I have attended in my short career. 2 of them was in early 2003, where 2SG Hu En Huai was drowned during the Combat Survival Training and 1SG Kumar collapsed after a 5km run for his Ranger course selection. Then the 3rd is COL Bernard from the biathlon.

Looks like Guardsman cannot do running or water... or both together...

Okay, just joking... Sorry. Maybe this post is a bit heavy for jokes.

Military weddings and funerals I have attended both. Both are privileges reserved for the uniformed only. Both events are one of the most important in our lives, but we view these 2 ceremonies very differently. We tend to take the military weddings less seriously, and view military funerals more, well, gravely. Anybody can opt for a military wedding as long as you are in service, but only the selected few who died in duty can have a military funeral.

But that's not my point here.

I do not have the exact words with me now, but I remember distinctly that C.S. Lewis once said something like this: Our reaction towards death is most evident for theology. In other words, our very view of death suggests that there is something more to this life then to eat, drink and be merry... and then wait to die.

There will always be arguments for and against Theism. Until the day Jesus comes back to us, the debate will never end. But the death of a friend wakes up the eternity in our hearts and force us to look further than what our eyes can see.

This is something science cannot explain away, for who can measure the longing of the hearts?

By the way, it was Albert Einstein who said, "Science without religion is lame." But... again that's not my point here. Who is Albert Einstein anyway?

If nothing else, death reminds us that something is not right. How can something so natural feels... so unnatural? May I, then, suggest to you that death is NOT natural. It is a direct product of something gone terribly wrong. If you have lost a loved one, you will understand what I am talking about. You cannot help but think: THIS IS NOT RIGHT!

Well, the fact is, every ONE in ONE person die. That's the statistic of death. Some of us face death in fear, lost and grieve, while some of us can face death in hope. Hope that the person is in a better place and one day we will meet him again.

This is the hope of a believer, a Christian. I'm sorry if you find this post preachy, but this is the voice of my heart now. COL Bernard is a believer and one day I will see him again (and not have to call him Sir!) He has touched many lives, including mine.

Once again, I would like to say: Thank you Sir!

And till we meet again.


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