Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Andrew Bacevich laid to rest

It was about honoring one of the best America has to offer. The best of a generation.

As 1st Lt. Andrew J. Bacevich was carried into his family’s church in a flag-draped coffin, eulogized and buried with military honors yesterday, it was about the inconsolable loss of a son that can only be managed by faith and the knowledge of a life lived to the fullest, a son who stepped up to serve in wartime.

“I saw in Andy all the traits we desire in our next generation,” said Col. Barrye Price, who delivered the eulogy at St. Timothy’s Church in Norwood yesterday. Bacevich, 27, was killed in Iraq on May 13 when his men stopped a suspicious vehicle that then detonated on a highway south of Samarra.

News reports have focused on the criticism of the Bush war policy leveled by his father, Boston University international relations professor Andrew Bacevich. But the retired Army colonel always kept his namesake’s service and his own long service, from Vietnam to the Gulf War, apart from his academic work.

Yesterday, as Andrew and Nancy Bacevich and their three daughters stoically endured a funeral too soon, it was about a beloved son and soldier. It was about respect for a young man who chose to move forward into fire as a leader of American soldiers.

“His name means brave, manly, strong, and so he was,” Price said.

From the pulpit, he faced more than 1,000 mourners that included several of Bacevich’s friends in uniform, including a war-wounded captain on crutches from the 10th Mountain Division.

Price listed some of the traits that set Bacevich apart in his generation. His idea of “extreme sports” was running marathons. He wore his baseball cap straight, recognizing “that the visor was to shield his face from the sun.”

Price, who guided the younger Bacevich as a mentor for more than 10 years, listed the traits that made him a leader, the words, as he put it, that Bacevich lived and died by: “Words like selfless. Sacrificial. Committed. Heroic. Mission-focused. Patriotic.”

Like his father, Bacevich was “a leader . . . who loved his treasure, that is his soldiers, and whose treasures loved him,” Price said.

Price had received an e-mail from Bacevich written just 12 hours before his death, and said he was talking about rallying his troops after recent combat casualties. “He talked about his future . . . He talked about joining the reconstruction in Iraq,” Price said.

“I would ask that we not dwell on how this happened,” Price said about this loss to a Massachusetts family that is a loss to two nations. “Mourn his death, but more importantly, celebrate his life.”

From the Boston Herald

Related Link:
Andrew J. Bacevich dies of injuries from I.E.D.