We laid my father to rest at Fort Custer National Cemetery on June 21, 2016. The day was clear and sunny, with a bright blue sky over the waving avenue of flags.
My mother and all of my siblings were present, as well as many of the grandchildren, and other family members. Because my father was an archivist at heart, I will preserve this record of the day. To read more about my dad, click on the category with his name in the right sidebar. Thanks to my sister, Beth Huizenga, for the brief video above, showing the arrival of the casket.
We stood for the brief service, which took place in a pavilion. My sister-in-law, Rev. Dr. Annette Bourland Huizenga, officiated, using words I put together from traditional sources, but shortened in order to allow time for the military honors, which came first. Military honors included three components: a 21 gun salute, the playing of Taps by a live bugler with a mute, and the folding and presentation of the flag. All of these honors were performed by volunteers.
The service continued with Annette leading.
Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. Everyone who believes in me shall live,
even though they die, and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die.”
The Psalmist reminds us: God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in times of trouble, therefore we will not fear. (Psalm 46)
Paul writes in Romans: Who will separate us from the love of God? Will hardship, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through God who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor rulers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God. (Romans 8)
Daniel Wesorick, the oldest grandchild, read from Revelations 21, the first four verses, using his beloved KJV:
Now I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away. Also there was no more sea. Then I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”
O God, before whom generations rise and pass away, we praise you for all your servants who, having lived this life in faith, now live eternally with you.
Especially we thank you for your servant Nicholas, for the gift of his life, for all in him that was good and kind and faithful, for the grace you gave him that kindled in him the love of your dear name, and enabled him to serve you faithfully.
We thank you for that him death is past and pain ended, and that he has now entered the joy you have prepared; through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.
Give rest, O Christ, to your servant with all your saints, where there is neither pain nor sorrow nor sighing, but life everlasting. You only are immortal, the creator and maker of all. We are mortal, formed of the earth, and to earth shall we return. This you ordained when you created us, saying, “You are dust, and to dust you shall return.” All of us go down to the dust; yet even at the grave we make our song: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.
Shall we pray. Into your hands, O merciful Savior, we commend your servant Nicholas. Acknowledge, we humbly beseech you, a sheep of your own fold, a lamb of your own flock, a sinner of your own redeeming. Receive him into the arms of your mercy, into the blessed rest of everlasting peace, and into the glorious company of the saints in light, and may he dwell in the house of the Lord forever. Amen!
Everyone present gathered around the casket, laying our hands on it.
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ, we commend to Almighty God our brother Nicholas, and we commit his body to the ground; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
The God of peace, who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus Christ, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant: Make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in his sight; through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.
As we left the cemetery we were able to stop and watch the burial of the casket, which was done with efficiency.