Robert Michael Meccia
West Point, 1966
Be Thou At Peace
Posted by Cooper Wright on August 3, 2015:
This is the eulogy I gave for Bob at his funeral service on November 17, 2014.
I WOULD LIKE TO THANK JAN AND THE FAMILY FOR LETTING ME SPEAK TODAY ABOUT MY FRIEND AND WEST POINT CLASSMATE, BOB MECCIA. BOB AND I WERE ROOMATES DURING OUR SENIOR OR FIRSTIE YEAR AT WEST POINT. IF YOU GO TO THE HOWITZER WHICH WAS OUR WEST POINT YEARBOOK YOU WILL FIND THIS WRITTEN ABOUT BOB.
"STILL WATER RUNS DEEP," IS PROBABLY THE MOST APPROPRIATE PHRASE TO DESCRIBE "METCH". FEW PEOPLE HAVE SET SUCH HIGH GOALS IN LIFE AND PURSUED THEM WITH SUCH DETERMINATION. ON THE FIELDS OF FRIENDLY STRIFE AND IN THE ACADEMIC DEPARTMENT, HIS MANY ACHIEVEMENTS ARE READILY SEEN. HOWEVER, NEVER LET IT BE SAID, "METCH DOES NOT ENJOY LIFE." HOW MANY CADETS CAN WEAR OUT TWO BROWN BOYS IN ONE CADET CAREER? FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE TERM BEFORE, BROWN BOYS WERE THE COMFORTERS ON OUR BUNKS WHICH BOB USED FOR HIS FREQUENT NAPS DURING THE DAY!!
I DIDN'T KNOW BOB VERY WELL BEFORE WE BECAME ROOMMATES. OUR CLASS HAD BEEN "SCRAMBLED" FROM ALL OVER THE CORPS OF CADETS THE YEAR BEFORE AND BOB SPENT A GOOD DEAL OF HIS TIME PLAYING VARSITY BASEBALL AND SOCCER SO HE REALLY WASN'T AROUND MUCH. BOB TOOK SOME GETTING USED TO AT FIRST. HE SEEMED TO GLIDE THROUGH HIS DAY, TAKING EVERYTHING IN STRIDE, NEVER LOSING THAT UNIQUE SMILE OF HIS. I ON THE OTHER HAND WAS CONSTANTLY WORRIED ABOUT DOING SOMETHING WRONG OR BREAKING ONE OF THE MANY RULES THAT WERE SUPPOSED TO CONTROL OUR EVERY BREATHING MINUTE. BOB CONSIDERED THE BLUE BOOK WHICH WAS THE THICK BOOK LISTING THE MANY REGULATIONS THAT CADETS WERE TO FOLLOW SIMPLY AS SUGGESTIONS, TO BE FOLLOWED ONLY ON OCCASION. I CAN REMEMBER SUNDAY EVENINGS WAITING FOR BOB'S RETURN FROM WEEKEND LEAVE. WE HAD TO SIGN IN BY A CERTAIN TIME OR THE TACTICAL DEPARTMENT WOULD COME DOWN HEAVY WITH DEMERITS AND HOURS TO BE WALKED OFF ON THE AREA. AT THE LAST POSSIBLE SECOND, BOB WOULD COME RUSHING INTO THE ROOM WITH THAT SMILE ON HIS FACE WHILE I WOULD BE SWEATING BULLETS. BOB TAUGHT ME TO TAKE LIFE LESS SERIOUSLY AND TO WORRY ABOUT THE BIG THINGS. THE SMALL THINGS HAD A WAY OF WORKING THEMSELVES OUT.
AFTER GRADUATION, BOB AND I TRAVELED TO FORT BENNING GEORGIA FOR RANGER SCHOOL. RANGER SCHOOL WAS THE HARDEST THING I HAVE EVER DONE IN MY LIFE. AFTER THE NINE WEEK COURSE, ONLY ABOUT A HALF OF OUR CLASS GRADUATED. BOB AND I WERE PAIRED UP AS RANGER BUDDIES. WHERE HE WENT, I WENT. I DON'T THINK YOU CAN BE CLOSER TO ANOTHER HUMAN AS A RANGER BUDDY OTHER THAN BEING MARRIED. THE RANGER COURSE IS BROKEN UP INTO THREE 3-WEEK SEGMENTS. IF YOU DON'T FULLY COMPLETE A SEGMENT, YOU HAVE TO RESTART AND REDO THE ENTIRE SEGMENT. DURING THE FIRST THREE WEEK SEGMENT, BOB DISLOCATED HIS SHOULDER. INSTEAD OF DROPPING OUT AND BEING RECYCLED, BOB TAPED HIS INJURED ARM TO HIS CHEST AND FINISHED THE SEGMENT. WHAT DETERMINATION, WHAT GUTS!!! BUT THAT WAS BOB MECCIA.
OUR FIRST ASSIGNMENTS WERE IN GERMANY AND I CAN REMEMBER TRAVELING TO ASCHAFFENBURG TO SEE BOB ON WEEKENDS. THOSE WERE THE QUIET AND EASY DAYS BEFORE VIETNAM. AFTER GERMANY, BOB AND I SORT OF LOST TOUCH LIKE WE ALL DO. CONTACT WAS BY CHRISTMAS CARDS OR A CHANCE MEETING. HOW I WISH I HAD STAYED CLOSER TO SEE HIS SONS GROW UP.
WHEN WE FIRST ENTERED WEST POINT, ONE OF THE ITEMS OF PLEBE KNOWLEDGE THAT WE HAD TO MEMORIZE WAS THE ALMA MATER. ITS LAST VERSE CONTAINS THESE WORDS SO VERY FITTING FOR THIS DAY.
AND WHEN OUR WORK IS DONE,
OUR COURSE ON EARTH IS RUN,
MAY IT BE SAID, 'WELL DONE;
BE THOU AT PEACE.'
E'ER MAY THAT LINE OF GRAY
INCREASE FROM DAY TO DAY,
LIVE, SERVE, AND DIE, WE PRAY,
WEST POINT FOR THEE.
WELL DONE BOB. BE THOU AT PEACE.
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