|From his Father, Eric Herzberg read at Arllington
I’m Eric Herzberg – Eric William’s father. Thank you all for coming here to honor Eric…..especially those of you who traveled great distances. On behalf of the Herzberg and Barnhurst families, we are humbled by the show of support and love for our son. I would especially like to thank Kevin Kavanagh for being here today. Kevin’s son, also named Eric, also 20 years old and also from Severna Park, was killed in Iraq last month. Kevin has been a tremendous source of support this week.
We are here to pay our last respects and to honor Eric. What a fitting place to do this…..there is no other like it in the world. So many heroes here that Eric will take his rightful place beside.
The word “honor” has at least 10 different meanings in the dictionary. I think almost all of them fit Eric but here’s a few I think that are particularly appropriate today:
1) One whose worth brings respect or fame
2) High respect, as that shown for special merit; esteem
3) Good name; reputation…..and my favorite about Eric….
4) A keen sense of ethical conduct : INTEGRITY - one whose word, once given, is a guarantee of performance
As most of you this week, we received the news of my sons death with shock, nausea, and then uncontrollable grief. We’ve cried for him many times each day, at the most unexpected thoughts or memories. When I think of why we cry so hard for you Eric,
It’s not because you are in pain…we know you are not feeling pain right now
It’s not because you were unprotected and alone when you died…not only were you with your friends, your brothers…but you had literally hundreds of people from around the country praying for you.
We cry for you not because you were unprepared…you had the best training in the world, you had the best equipment, and you prepared yourself by deepening your relationship with the One who made you. I believe you knew how temporary this world is…. and you prepared yourself for the next world by reading from His word every day.
And we certainly don’t cry because we think of you as a victim. You were…for an instant. But you are not right now. You are in a new perfect body, fully at peace with Jesus. The victims right at this moment are us…your friends and family, your mother Gina, your sister Katie and your brother and best friend Matthew. We feel almost immobilized with grief right now – but we know you don’t want to see us in this constant state of mourning for long.
No – we don’t cry for you because of those things.
We cry for you because of a huge sense of loss, both personally, for our community of family and friends, and for the larger community of your fellow man. That sense of loss of the things you will never be on this earth that we wanted, and yes even NEEDED you to be.
The Marine with compassion that helps turn thoughts of hate and division into love, affection and unity….one Iraqi at a time by who you would have touched.
The son who always speaks the truth, and can help heal wounds….even those within his own family.
The friend who always does what he says and is loyal and faithful.
The spiritual warrior…the one who always finds a worthy fight to get into but brings his faith and humanity into it with him.
Finally, Eric, we cry because you would have been a father who would have raised kids just like you.
Yes - we came to honor you here Eric……but we had it all backwards. It is you who have honored us….just to have known you as long as we did, and to have seen the example of your life. You were tested under the most trying of circumstances and your character, integrity and nobility became examples to all of us.
In the bible, in the book of James - Chapter 1, verse 12 says this -
“Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love Him.”
I know you are wearing it well son. Goodbye for now….we love you.