My two fondest memories of Bernie, my best friend’s late grandfather, were from a vacation to Cancun, Mexico.

1. The first night at the resort, I admit that I had a little too much to drink. Needless to say, the next morning was a little rough and the thought of any sort of alcohol (especially tequila) made me queasy. As I slowly made my way down to our very first breakfast together (considerably tardy), I saw that they had saved a seat for me. And to my surprise, there was a shot of tequila. at my placemat. waiting for me. Turns out, it was Bernie’s clever idea to make me suffer at 8:30am.

2. At one of the dinners, Bernie decided to eat the blob of green “stuff” on the side of his plate, thinking it was guacamole. He proceeded to eat THE-ENTIRE-THING. A few minutes of him slowly chewing and us anxiously waiting for smoke to come out of his ears…. he swallowed and said, “Woo, that sure was some hot guacamole.” But we all knew better, he had just eaten the entire serving of wasabi.

The wasabi story is just a small example of how strong of a man Bernie was. He served in the United States Army for 22 years, putting his life in danger to serve his country. And for the past few years, he battled Parkinson’s disease. But no matter the pain or suffering, he never seemed to let it stop him from making others smile. There were only handful of times that I had the chance to visit with him, but of all those times, he never failed to make me laugh.

Bernie was a kind man, and he will be deeply missed.

His funeral was held at Arlington National Cemetery. I had the honor of attending the service, and documenting some of the traditions. The service was truly remarkable.

I’ve included a few of the pictures that I took during the day.

Bernie, thank you for teaching me to never take life too seriously, or go a day without cracking a joke. Rest in Peace.