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Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, VA
Funeral Service with Full Military Honors for LTC Chuck Lyda - Friday, 10/8/2010

Military Band and Caisson
On a warm Fall day, Chuck Lyda's friends, teammates, family and officers gathered to pay homage to his beloved memory. The horse-drawn caisson with a flag-draped casket was followed by about 50 men and women who came from all over the country to accompany Chuck on his journey's end. Full honors included body bearers, escort troops, a Taps bugler, a twenty-one gun salute and a military band that played a tender rendition of "America the Beautiful." During the ceremony, a bald eagle was seen circling the nearby trees.
Washington Monument
Color Guard
Photos by Austin Krissoff. Austin's brother, Nathan, lost his life in Iraq while Chuck was deployed there. Their father, a doctor from Truckee, CA, joined the military to honor his son's sacrifice and also served in Iraq. (See Charles Albright's tribute to Nathan & Chuck)

Fort Myer Officer's ClubCarol Schick-Lyda was an attentive and gracious host throughout the day, providing a chartered bus to transport our group to Arlington Cemetery. Many of us had also been to the July 10 Memorial Service at Lake Natoma, California. After the funeral, Carol accompanied us as we traveled to the prestigious Fort Myer Officer's Club. There, we all enjoyed an excellent meal, champagne, cake and ice cream in the dining hall where fellow soldiers and friends shared memorable stories about Chuck. He will be greatly missed. You spent your career saluting our country -- now our country salutes you.

Chaplain LTC Samuel "Ken" Godfrey kindly sent us the notes for his remarks on that day:

Chuck MarkerDate: 1300hrs FRI 8 OCT 2010
Full Honors Funeral of LTC Charles Clinton "Chuck" Lyda

DOB: 23 JUL 1952 - DOD: 12 JUN 2010 - Age 57

20 years together, 10 years Married to Carol: "Loved being married to him; seems like he should return from TDY." Chuck's mom is Charmian, sister Laramée, brother Grady.

Welcome to Arlington National Cemetery where for nearly 150 years our nation has honored her fallen patriots who answered the call of their country to defend our nation, our constitution, and freedom both at home and around the world. Each one of the more than 300,000 memorials represents the story of a life of service. Each has earned the right to be laid to rest in this sacred place. It is no different for us today as we have gathered to honor the life and service of LTC Chuck Lyda.

Military: 27 years in the California National Guard. Served in Iraq in Tikrit and Baghdad - was preparing for another tour when he fell ill. Performed many different roles during his career - last role was as mobilization officer for the State of California.

Hobbies: 2-time World Champion Slalom Canoe paddler, 2-time Olympian (1976 & 1980) in Canoe/Kayak. Coached the Elite Military Biathlon Team for the World Class Athlete Program. Many of his athletes were Olympians. Many outdoor passions including cycling, climbing, orienteering and paragliding.

Memories: Chuck had a strength and passion for excellence. He did not have any excuses for not being the best you can be. One of his paddling friends said in an email about his death, "a Titan has fallen." He was respected and loved for being himself, uncompromised and strong.

Why Arlington? He was such a good Soldier. His athletes went back to Soldiering because of 911, because their Soldier Coach said so: "You are athletes, but Soldiers first." He had a tremendous career as a US Army soldier. He also had a passion for US Military History. Arlington is a place of honor and I wanted his name on the ground here as a soldier. He was a fit athlete caring for his earthly vessel. He showed tremendous strength and even military bearing during his battle with cancer. He was determined, a fighter and had a spirit of contentment.

Lyda HeadstoneListen for themes of leadership by example, faith in grace through Christ, Soldiering, and athletic victory: 2 Timothy 2 NIV
You then, my son, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus. And the things you have heard me say in the presence of many witnesses entrust to reliable men who will also be qualified to teach others. Endure hardship with us like a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No one serving as a soldier gets involved in civilian affairs - he wants to please his commanding officer. Similarly, if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor's crown unless he competes according to the rules.

Prayer: Our Father and God, here in the presence of death we know that You are the source of life; that our very breath is a gift from Your hands. We thank You for the comfort we receive from Your presence, and ask that You hear us now as we call upon You for consolation and strength. May we live each day in the awareness that we too, shall walk through the valley of the shadow. May our hearts be open to Your work, and our lives be lived in Your service, until that day when we step from this life into the life to come. Through Christ we pray, amen.

We commit LTC Chuck Lyda's earthly remains to safekeeping in this place of honored rest; earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust. And we trust his soul to our loving, gracious, almighty God. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

Benediction: Numbers 6: The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn his face toward you and give you peace.

Honors: For our comrade in arms and fellow Soldier, LTC Chuck Lyda, our nation bestows military honors. In life he honored the flag and in death the flag will honor him.

(Photo by John Hefti)

A Wreath for Chuck
Annual Wreath-Laying Ceremony - Saturday, December 11, 2010

Wreath laying12/11/2010


We've never met, but today, I participated in the wreath laying ceremony at Arlington Cemetery, and I placed my wreath on Charles' grave. It was such an honor to participate in such a powerful tradition, and I am grateful for the service that he gave to our country. I just wanted to share today's photo with you to know that we, as strangers, never forget.

Natalie Brown
Reston, VA

I received this thoughtful email and photo that I wanted to share with everyone. It is the first time I have seen Chuck's headstone. Thank you so very much, Natalie.
-- Grady (Chuck's brother)


Thank you very much for taking the time to do this. As I'm sure Grady has already told you, it means so much to all of us that people are willing to do this for a complete stranger. It reflects a lot of credit on you and the others who participate. Merry Christmas and God Bless.

COL (R) Michael L Herman
Director, Facilities & Engineering
California National Guard

Make us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong, and never to be content with a half truth when the whole can be won.
-- West Point Cadet Prayer

Arlington by Natalie Brown
Arlington Photo by Natalie Brown, January 2012

Each year Worcester Wreath Company makes and decorates holiday wreaths and places them on over 5,000 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery. Morrill Worcester (President of Worcester Wreath Company, based in Harrington, Maine) started this annual event in 1992 to honor our nation’s fallen heroes. The Arlington Wreath Project adorns the white tombstones with evergreen wreaths and red bows to recognize sacrifices our Veterans and their families have made for our country. The wreaths will be at Arlington National Cemetery for approximately four weeks. Wreaths Across America is now raising money to help fulfill its mission through sponsorship of wreaths.

Chuck's First Christmas at Arlington National Cemetery
Photos by Friend and Teammate, Paul Grabow - Friday, December 17, 2010

Arlington Winter 1Arlington Winter 2Arlington Winter 3Arlington Winter 4
I had read in the paper about the folks laying wreaths at Arlington. It also snowed a couple of inches here Thursday, so I went
and visited yesterday. I thought the combination of snow, blue skies, and green wreaths would make for a nice composition. I took a number of pictures. I had a hard time selecting the ones you might like to distribute to family/friends. You may notice that I don't tend to like to get people in my compositions. I want the focus to be on his place among the others in this section.

This being the "active" section, there tends to be alot of decorations. Some nearby trees are decorated. Each headstone had a
clear or colored round "stone" sitting on it. I asked some people nearby what that meant. They said it was an old Jewish custom, a way to mark one's visit.

Paul G.
Email, 12/18/2010 (Click any image for larger size)

Veterans' Day at Arlington National Cemetery, 11/11/11
Photos by Friend and Teammate, Paul Grabow - Friday, November 19, 2011

Veterans' Day 1Veterans' Day 2Veterans' Day 3Veterans' Day 4
I visited a couple of days after Veteran's day. Small flags on all the headstones in that section. We have had a beautiful fall here
and you will see some nice colors on the trees in the background.

On an unrelated note, I was struck by the National Guard culture during the ceremony. I've been developing an idea on expanding the mission of the Guard and have been talking to a number of people in Washington about it. Much of my thinking was influenced by Chuck's involvement in the Guard.

Paul G.
Email, 11/19/2011 (Click any image for larger size)
Arlington Cemetery

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