Sunday, March 25, 2018

Eulogy for My Dad

As written and delivered, Saturday, March 24, 2018, St. John the Apostle Roman Catholic Church, Linden, NJ:

Many of you know the story of how my father came to the US and gained his citizenship. It’s a long one, with lots of dramatic twists and funny stories, and my sister Theresa does a much better job telling his story in her documentary film about his life, “Every Day Is a Holiday.”

That phrase comes from one of Dad’s sayings after his time as a prisoner of war: "Every day as a free man is a holiday." I didn’t really, truly understand that until my sister, after years of prodding, finally got him to open up and share his story.

We can also see his story in the people who are here today to pay their respects, many who have traveled hundreds (even thousands) of miles, over journeys lasting many dozens of years: fellow veterans and members of the American Legion; classmates from Manhattan College and University of Bologna Medical School; colleagues from the East Orange VA; neighbors and friends from a long life well-lived.

And of course, his loving family.

As we honor Dr. Paul Yokwah Loong and say farewell to him, we remember many things about him: the pains he endured and the sacrifices he made; his kindness, care, and compassion for all those he helped; and most of all, his devotion to God; his steadfast patriotism for his country; and his tireless  love for his family.

My father rarely had a problem falling asleep, and always slept well. He liked to say that the reason was simple: It was because he had a clear conscience.

Dad is at his eternal rest now, and I know he goes there with a clear conscience.


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