This week our parish and community said our final goodbyes to a young 23 year old Marine killed in a helicopter crash during a training exercise this past January off Oahu. While closure is so very difficult in these circumstances, my prayer is that the service brought some degree of peace.
I will forever be a military wife..the chosen spouse of an Army helicopter pilot of twenty years. There from the very beginning, I gave him a hug and kiss knowing that each training exercise and flight carried with it too the danger of being his last. Yet, this was a passion and a gift that was uniquely his. The desire to serve is an indelible part of who he is, and though retired- he never truly will be.
In listening to the eulogies of Cpl. Orlando’s sister and cousin, I vividly glimpsed the life of this young man. His life, though short, was one not un-lived. Where he was, others joined him and whatever he did he attracted the participation of others. He taught through witness, and loved his family and friends. There is much to be learned from this in our daily lives. Cpl. Orlando also had a passion for surfing and cherished his time on the water.Which was, in part, what drew him to the Marines…
The Waters: In Memorium- Cpl. Chris Orlando
by Elizabeth A. Reardon
The waters had beckoned him since he was small,
Big waves, strong currents and angry surf- he tested them all,
At peace and enthralled amidst the ebb and flow,
He recruited others to join so they too could know.
The joy that he felt paddling out at the break of day,
The longing to return and the desire to stay,
The fellowship he enjoyed with his creator and friends,
The surprises and unpredictability each wave sends.
His love of the water carried also his decision to enlist,
The Marines and Hawaii, were far too tempting to resist,
And a view from the air what a sight to behold,
Sunrises, sunsets and the curls to unfold.
It was this glorious view that was to be his last,
And the crew of the copters that had that day crashed,
Over the waters that drew him near,
From baptism to death, these waters were dear.