THe Harting Family

THe Harting Family

Friday, April 9, 2010

See Ya Later Friend

Well this has been a nice weekend, an emotional weekend. This weekend we had a memorial service for a very dear friend that we lost in Sept 09 while the hubs was in Afghanistan. Some of you that follow me on twitter will remember. It was tough and extremely difficult when our friend, who we consider a member of our family passed this last year. I will give you a little background information on Jim Hummel and his family. About 13 years ago I went in search of any men that served with my dad who was KIA in Vietnam when I was an infant. I wanted the truth about my dad, the good the bad and the ugly. I figured the best way to do this would be to find the men who served with him in the Marine Corps. I posted a little note on the "Virtual Wall" and was contacted by Jim Hummel shortly thereafter. And to make a long story short we became close, he shared photos he had of my dad, and memories and in a short period of time it was like we were family. His wife Maggie, and his sons were as well. We shared more emails than I can count and we shared important events. His family sent so many care packages to Greg and his Marines every time Greg deployed, and Gregs hardships became their own. They came to my husbands graduation from Det Commanders Course in D.C., We traveled to their home in Pa. And met several times over the years, and a lot of those times Jim was not in good health and still he came. Michael considered Jim a grandfather, he loved him as much as my dad, and would talk to him on the phone for hours. Maggie his wife is more special to us than I can express in writing and his sons, well we love them too. Jim's first love of course was his family, second, the Marine Corps. He was a decorated Combat Veteran and a disabled veteran. He passed this last year, I wasn't prepared, even though he was ill, I guess I just didn't want to believe he would ever leave us. It was a hard week when he passed for the hubs, he has lost some Marines from his Battalion and his best friend another Marine has also lost his life and now I had to tell him Jim had passed away, I just didn't know how to do it. Jim was truly our family, our chosen family member, we loved him. Greg took the news pretty hard. Mostly he wanted to be here for his wife Maggie, to make sure she was ok. To do what Marines do, to look after his own. He felt like he owed Jim that much, to comfort his wife and kids when they need him. He couldn't be there, I tried to tell him that of all people Jim would understand. He knew that the mission was first. But Greg wanted to look after his family like Jim looked after his buddies daughter (me) after all those years. But Maggie as special as she was let Greg know that she was ok, that she was going to wait until Greg got home to make sure he would be included in saying our final farewells to Jim, I think she knew how important that was to both of them. So she waited and this weekend we finally were able to give Jim his send off, our "see you later". Marines truly take care of one another, the young, the old, The Marine. On a beautiful Thursday afternoon, the Marines of 2nd Assault Amphibian Battalion (Jims old unit), took thier brother out to Courthouse Bay with his sons and Greg and Michael and an old Amtrac buddy long retired and paid a final honor to Jim. His ashes were spread in this place that Jim loved as his beautiful and dedicated wife Maggie watched from the shore along with other Marines that had come down to watch. And as the chaplain read a poem that another Veteran that had served with Jim wrote:

It was hard for me to read that poem when Maggie showed it to me, but it is beautiful and it is true, my son said when the chaplain read it the Sgt on the track had a tear rolling down his cheek. And when the ashes were finally let go, I knew that this was a place of peace for Jim and his family, that somehow Jim was looking down on it all and finally he was home. Jim will always be with us, in Maggie and Jeremy and Jesse..and now with his Marine Corps. We feel him all around us.
I would like to share some photos of Jim when he was a young different than that face we see today...our brave young Marines (and soldiers) we owe so much too..
Rest in Peace Jim. We got your back. We love you Maggie, Jeremy and Jesse..feel the arms of your military family wrap around you. We will always be here for you.


Paula said...

What a wonderful story! You have a beautiful tribute to him here. His family is lucky to have you.

USMCWIFE said...

Thanks but we feel like we are the lucky ones. I just realized that I said "weekend" when in fact it was this week. I am really not used to having my husband home during the week.

TheAlbrechtSquad said...

Beautiful and touching tribute both the service and the words you typed here.

Thank you for sharing Jim with us, I can read the love.

USMCWIFE said...

Thank you girlie..that means a lot.

A Sailor's Wife said...

Thanks so much for sharing that story!It brought tears to my eyes.
I'm not good at saying the right things at the right all I will say is I'm sorry for your loss-but you have such amazing memories to hold on to.

USMCWIFE said...

Thank you for the kind comment, you said exactly the right thing. My hope is people remember Jim for the man he was as well as his proud service. Our Veterans deserve at least that, especially our Vietnam Vets who were denied a proper homecoming by this country.

Tiffanie said...

Beautiful post! I'm sooo very thankful to be a part of something so incredible...the Marine Corps family is really an amazing thing!

USMCWIFE said...

It certainly is..I am glad you are a part of it as well!