We gather this warm summer’s morning upon this hill to lay to rest the remains of a beloved husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, uncle, Highlander, dear neighbor and faithful friend, United States Coast Guard Captain Paul Reed Peak, Jr.
His life began in Denver, surrounded by the majestic Rocky Mountains. Many years passed before young Paul saw an ocean, but following his 1944 graduation from the United States Coast Guard Academy, he spent hundreds, yes, thousands of hours aboard vessels out on our planet’s beautiful and unpredictable oceans.
For 30 years, he served his c0untry with courage, leadership, keep intellect, distinction, wisdom, integrity and faithfulness — three remarkable decades. He loved our country and her many faces, 50 states, and diverse personalities.
An honorable man, he was proud of his service. He loved the Coast Guard.
As we place his remains into the cradle of our planet Mother, we are reminded that we are made of stardust, the elements of the stars and planets that he studied and admire during his many nights at sea. And with this in mind, we recall a familiar phrase, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.”
We are indebted to Captain Peak and his beloved wife, Jane, who, together, served through various Coast Guard posts and shared more than 70 years of marriage. Thank you,. Thank you for your service, your dedication, your example.
As this part of today’s burial service concludes, I’d like to share a thought-provoking passage, “Crossing the Bar” — one of Captain Peak’s favorites — that was written by Alfred, Lord Tennyson:
“Sunset and evening star, and one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar, when I put out to sea.
But such a tide as moving seems asleep, too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep, turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell, and after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell, when I embark.
For though from out our bourne of time and place the flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face, when I have crossed the bar.”