We have a place, we "Lexicans", where we can mourn in a private manner amongst ourselves. It is perhaps better described as an extended wake. We share our remembrances of Lex and our favorite posts by him, some of them seemingly prescient about his demise. But, he spent a career flying and attending memorials of shipmates who flew one time too many, well aware what fate could be his as well. He had looked inside himself and was comfortable with who he was and accepting of the fates of his chosen profession.
He had written of the loss of love, joy, and other simple experiences for those who precede us. He had seen it happen and accepted it as an occupational hazard. There are men who are willing to accept these things. By contemporary standards they are considered quaint believers in an old fashioned, bygone set of standards. They are not metrosexuals, not comfortable with relative standards, not concerned with being out of time. They used to be called "real men", men who knew who they are and not afraid to take a stand for something even if they be but one. They believe in a right and a wrong and not the contemporary relativism that seems to pass for, well, morals just doesn't seem to fit for what relativism doesn't stand for.
And those men believe in duty. And while we can not choose if we will die, we can have some choice in the manner of our death. For men like these would rather die for something bigger than themselves than spend their lives looking only to saving themselves. In "Act of Valor" the LT leaves a letter to his son. In it he admonishes his son not to live his life in fear but to live it well.
We are not afraid to die, but we are not rushing for the exit either. We are constrained to live life a certain way that does not allow us to turn away from what we must do but to stay the course. Sometimes, ultimately, our wives and families pay the price when they must continue on without us.
We cannot deny Death, we have not the power. We can only try to leave a legacy that says we were not in vain. And that was Lex.
It was posted by Lex several years ago and by one of us more recently that the separation is the hardest part. The absence of the husband and father from the family while so much of their life has passed. Irrecoverable experiences that are yawning chasms in our lives while we serve. He found it difficult to write of. His family had already given more than a family should have to give and now has had to give all of the rest of that time as well.
Absolutely, they have the thanks of a grateful nation.