Monday, September 03, 2007

Derek Dobogai laid to rest

It's a day of mixed and powerful emotions — a summer holiday celebration on one hand; the funeral and burial of a 26-year-old Fond du Lac Special Forces soldier on the other.

The Labor Day parade was scheduled to begin at 11 this morning. And so was the funeral service for Capt. Derek A. Dobogai, the son of David and Lisa Dobogai, brother of David Jr. and Daniel, and a favorite son of the Winnebago Lutheran Academy community.

We plan to cover the Labor Day festivities as we normally do. There will be photos from the annual parade and festivities at Lakeside Park in the paper and on The Reporter Web site.

However, we won't be in attendance at the funeral or the burial service. We choose to honor Derek Dobogai by honoring the wishes of the Dobogai family. Members of the family have requested that they and those closest to Derek be allowed to grieve in private.

We honor that request. That is the least we can do.

We have honored Derek's memory throughout the previous week with stories about his accomplishments, his goals, his dreams and the impact with which he graced his community, WLA, his friends, fellow soldiers and, of course, his family — the ones closest to him and the ones who feel the pain of his loss most intensely.

Capt. Dobogai was one of 14 military personnel killed Aug. 22 in a Black Hawk helicopter crash in war-torn northern Iraq. Their deaths reverberate across the nation and deliver the painful message of the ultimate cost of war and devotion to duty — most pointedly to the families and communities that experience the impact firsthand.

There also is a particular feeling of pride that wells up in the realization that men of the caliber of Derek Dobogai are produced in communities like ours. It's testimony to the Dobogai family, WLA, our community and a sense of honor somehow instilled within a boy who becomes a man in our midst.

The funeral service is scheduled at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, the church of his boyhood and site of the elementary school he attended. Burial will be at Rienzi Cemetery, created in 1845 on the slope of the Ledge by a grieving historic Fond du Lac figure and Wisconsin territorial governor who lost his son to untimely death at the age of 18.

We honor a sense of history today in a number of ways. We celebrate. We grieve. We honor the memories of a special way of life.

In our free moments today, it's well worth recalling that our way of life has been defended and preserved throughout our nation's history by boys and men from our midst like Derek Dobogai.

As a community we stand as one today to salute him and his family. It is the best we can do.

From the Fond du Lac Reporter

Related Link:
Derek Dobogai remembered

Related Link:
Derek A. Dobogai dies 'of injuries suffered when his helicopter crashed'