(WASHINGTON) -- No funeral at Arlington National Cemetery is ordinary. Each one marks the passing of an American hero who gave his or her life for their country and who leaves a family with a gaping hole. But some carry a symbolic significance that others do not.
On Nov. 22, one such funeral will be held. Twenty-nine-year-old Marine Robert Michael Kelly will be buried that day, leaving a grieving wife, siblings, parents, friends and fellow servicemembers. His father will be among them. He is Lt. Gen. John Kelly, a three-star Marine General with another son serving with the corps. Lt. Gen. Kelly is the highest ranking officer to lose a child in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He sent out a powerful letter after his son's death.
In the letter, Kelly talked proudly, but sadly, of his son.
"He went quickly and thank God he did not suffer. In combat that is as good as it gets, and we are thankful. We are a broken hearted - but proud family. He was a wonderful and precious boy living a meaningful life. He was in exactly the place he wanted to be, doing exactly what he wanted to do, surrounded by the best men on this earth."
The young marine was posthumously promoted to 1st Lieutenant after his death on Nov. 9.
Lt. Gen. Kelly closed the letter asking people to save most of their prayers, not for his beloved son, but for those still in harm's way, facing danger for their country. In closing, he wrote "The pain is unimaginable" and thanked his supporters, ending with the Marine Corps motto, "Semper Fi." Always faithful.
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