August 22, 2016
Dear Patriot Guard Riders,
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support and the escort you provided for my father’s funeral. We were so impressed and humbled by your presence. Never did we expect such a grand showing of solidarity and respect.
For so many years we’d get yearly reports from the Department of the Army regarding their efforts and progress identifying the missing remains of the fallen. It was a slow process and it was always someone else’s family member found. The current relationship between the United States and North Korea added to my growing skepticism that they’d find my father. Then, one ordinary day, I got a phone call. It was my turn for a miracle. My father’s remains were identified and he was coming home.
My father, Chief Warrant Officer Nava, was a happy, wonderful father and a great soldier. My mother used to refer to him as a man’s man. She said she knew that if he had to die he would be happiest giving his life in the service of his country. “That’s how he would want it...”, she would say. He was military through and through.
Up until my father’s return I felt alone in my grief. That is no longer true. I’ve come to discover that you veterans are a generous bunch. You take care of your own, and have an undying sense of loyalty to each other. When I saw the Patriot Guard at the funeral home, I instantly felt a strong connection to my father’s service and inclusion with the military once again. The enormity of my father’s homecoming and final resting place was overwhelming. You offered your strength in such a dignified, respectful, way. Your devotion to my father as a soldier deserving of such honor was heartwarming. He meant the world to us.
So, thank you for being who you are, for your service to our country and thank you, once again, for the beautiful tribute you paid to my father. I will never forget you, not ever.
Mary Nava Kolesar