Today is a sad day for those of us blessed to have known a man like Danny Lang. He died at the age of 91. And he lived every minute of his life. Every minute. If you knew him, you know.
You know the stories he could tell. You know the love he had for his four families; his actual family, his Marine Corps family, his Douglas County Sheriff’s Department family, and his VFW family. We could add to those his Honor Guard Family. These families are feeling the loss right now. A man who was larger than life.
You know the respect he had for women. He was a gentleman. He had favorites among his friends. The more he teased you, the more he respected and loved you. He would command the Honor Guard through their part of many funerals. He would instruct you if he felt you needed to be a little sharper presenting arms. And God forbid if you thought shooting from the hip was OK. Not on Danny Lang’s watch. I doubt anyone would ever try it now, either. He was all business in paying respect for a fellow veteran’s life. You didn’t cut corners. Period.
He would stop and ask you if you were ok. If you shared some hurt or difficulty with him, he’d pray for you. He’d check in on you periodically, just to see if you had a breakthrough and needed more prayers. He was deeply concerned about his friends. It was beautiful to have a trusted friend like Danny.
We all remember his friendship with Bob Podany, especially. Can you imagine the two of them in heaven? Bickering like an old married couple. They were the best. And now, we have our memories. Our lives are richer for having known Danny (and Bob). We admired him, learned from him, and loved him. He’s the lucky one. We’re left feeling his absence. But as long as we are alive, we have the treasure of memories and stories about Danny Lang. And the love he gave all of us. Especially if we wore shorts on a hot, July day. There is a small group of friends who saw him in shorts during a trip where he was escorted to a Marine reunion by a group of friends. They all had fun. Especially Danny.
Later today, we’ll attend his service, the dinner, and pay our respects. We’ll thank his family for sharing him and this day with us. And we’ll lift a glass to Danny. He was one of a kind, thank goodness. And we’ll all have just one more, in his honor. The time was too short, Danny. Thank you for all the memories. Semper Fi, Marine!