Eulogy For A Vietnam Veteran at Barrancas National Cemetery- Sept 30, 2021- Gary Huff

Gary Huff was 5 years older than me and he and Fran and Bill and I shared an era of coming of age that affected our generation significantly….. the 60s and 70s.   Music, family life, education, the assassination of a president, the moon landing, and the Vietnam War.

My favorite Uncle was an 82nd Airborne Master Sargent.  Some of my most fervent prayers as a teen were for the safety of him and other deployed US military during the 60s and 70s.  When my uncle volunteered for a third tour in Vietnam, I heard my Daddy ask his brother in law why he was going back again.  My uncle responded that he was older, had battlefield experience from the Korean Conflict and by being there he believed he would be able to help more of the younger men come home alive.  I have always had a special place in my heart for Vietnam veterans.  My uncle coming home and every Vietnam veteran I came to know through the years were proof to me that God had heard and answered my prayers.  As a 15-year-old in 1969 I wrote a poem after a particularly emotional Sunday evening of prayer in my little home town church.


The sound of guns in battle…….                      And cries of dying men,

The pitiful weeping of children…….                 Searching for loved ones again;

A voice comes through the clamor……..         “This suffering is in vain.

The time will end for conflict………..                Peace will reign again.

Put down your fatal weapons…….                  Lay aside grudging ways,

Together join all voices……                             In a joyful song of praise.”

Each one takes another ……..                         Into a heartfelt embrace.

Then God smiles upon his children……         And fills them with His grace.

CBB  5/1/69

Gary Huff and the things of his life were very much the things of my life and the lives of many of our generation …, family, country, service.  He was a good friend to Bill and me when we moved to Florida and remained so for 29 years. Gary was a good friend to many people and his loss is hard for all who called him friend.  The Sunday before his fateful trip to Tennessee Gary and I had shared a heartfelt embrace, hanging onto one another in tears at the end of an emotional worship service in which we were reminded of all that our church family had come through together over the last three years since Hurricane Michael and recovery from the devastation, then COVID and how God had brought us through dark days.  Little did I know in that moment that more dark days were just over the horizon for his family and all of us who love him.  Gary’s friendship with and memories of Bill had been a source of comfort to me in the last year. I grieve again now with his loved ones as he and they grieved with me then.

David, a man after God’s own heart, was a man who knew battle and he also knew the source of his strength. David declares in 2 Samuel 22:2-4:

“My God is my rock, in whom I find protection. He is my shield, the power that saves me, and my place of safety. He is my refuge, my savior, the One who saves me from violence. I called on the Lord, who is worthy of praise, and He saved me from my enemies.”

And the Apostle Paul reassures us that the love of God that binds our hearts together is eternal in this verse from Romans 8:38-39:

“For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”


Bill Byrd and Gary Huff enjoyed many seasons of joy in places and among people they loved and I am confident that they still are enjoying such times together, as we will, both here on earth and in eternity because we too are bound by the love of God which is in Christ.


May the presence of the Holy Spirit and these words comfort your heart and remind you that Gary is more alive now in Christ than he has ever been!  Amen



(Gary’s draft number was low, so he joined the Navy in 1967.  He completed medical training in 1968,  He was in Vietnam in 1969,  assigned as a medic to a Marine unit, when I as a 15 year old was praying and writing this poem…..)