Good morning everyone. Heartfelt thanks to all of you for being with us today as we lay our Jonathan to rest. Special thanks to Vice President & Dr. Biden, Senator Dole, General and Mrs. Dunford, & other senior leaders, along with so many very close friends who have traveled so far or given up so much time to be with us. Know that your love and outreach has sustained us at a difficult time.
Reverend Luther Alexander, thank you for blessing yet another Winnefeld event with grace and dignity, and of course, thank you to the Fort Myer and Arlington team.
We have a tradition in our family when we speak of someone we’ve lost . . . of quoting an old Indian saying that goes “When you were born, you cried and the whole world rejoiced. So live your life that when you die, you rejoice and the whole world cries.” Jonathan Jacob Winnefeld . . . our son, brother, nephew, cousin, friend, and teammate . . . is the epitome of that saying.
Everyone expects to someday lose a parent, but no one is prepared to lose a child . . . someone who is so much a part of you, someone whose diaper you’ve changed, who you’ve taught to ride a bicycle or catch a baseball, or helped with a science project, or who you’ve lovingly watched both fail and succeed in the challenges of growing up.
It is not possible for a parent to lose a child, for any reason, without wondering whether there was something . . . anything . . . one might have done differently along the way to prevent it. But rather than reflect on the constant background feeling of sorrow that has now entered our lives . . . today I would remember just a few of the many things about you, Jonathan Winnefeld, that made us so proud . . . and that made us smile.