Wed | Dec 19, 2018

A final salute for Col MacMillan

Published:Sunday | June 5, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Gary Paul MacMillan (left), son; Dr Olivia 'Peaches' McDonald (wife); Jeremy MacMillan, with national honours awarded to his father; and Dr Douglas McDonald (brother-in-law) leave the Garrison Church, Up Park Camp, Kingston, with the urn bearing the remains of Col Trevor MacMillan, former minister of national security, after a service of thanksgiving for his life on Saturday.- Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Erica Virtue, Senior Gleaner Writer

For the greater part of his adult life, Trevor MacMillan was a man accustomed to receiving salutes - from the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), where he rose to the rank of colonel, to the Jamaica Constabulary Force, where he was the first civilian to become commissioner.

During his 70 years, he would receive salutes and salutations locally, regionally, and internationally for his unrelenting efforts to rid Jamaica of corruption, especially from the ranks of law enforcement, which was his first love.

Yesterday, final salutes were accorded him at the service of thanksgiving for his life as army man, husband, father, advocate, and reformer at the Garrison Church, Up Park Camp, Kingston.

A large congregation of military and police personnel, including Chief of Defence Staff Major General Antony Anderson, Police Commissioner Owen Ellington, local and international dignitaries, government leaders headed by Prime Minister Bruce Golding and members of his Cabinet, senators, as well as opposition members saluted his life and work and paid their respects.

Daughter Lori-Ann led the tributes from his children, telling the large gathering that her father taught her many lessons in life, how to use and manage time, how to plan and strategise, honesty and integrity, right and wrong, and how to make the best use of the opportunities that life presented, and not least of all, love.

"Daddy taught us so many things that influenced our lives in so many ways. Daddy taught us the importance of time, and taught us to respect time. He never quite got the concept of "Jamaica time". If the party started at four we would be there at five to four when everybody was still setting up," she recalled.

Wedding story

She had the audience laughing when she told the story of her wedding at the same church, and how she arrived before her husband. She recalled that at two minutes after the start time, her dad had her marching up the aisle. She told him to slow down during the wedding march, but he quipped that it was a wedding march, not a wedding stroll.

"He loved us with his whole heart. He loved unconditionally. He loved us fiercely, and he would have moved any mountain for any of his children. No child could have asked for a more supportive father, and he was there for us every step of the way … ," she said.

"He taught us about love. He taught us about the importance of family. He loved his family. He loved his wife (Peaches), he loved his children, his grandchildren, his brother, his in-laws, his sister. His nieces were a significant part of his life. His grandchildren loved when grandpa picked them up from school because a grandpa pick-up was a guaranteed Burger King … ," she said.

MacMillan believed that you were either right or wrong, "you couldn't be a little right or a little wrong."

In remembrance, Douglas McDonald recalled how his late brother-in-law single-handedly led the charge for women to become part of the Rotary Club membership. Standing on the side of principles and his beliefs, he took expulsion from his Rotary Club for that advocacy.

Receiving accolades, however, was never too far from the military man, and he would later be saluted for his advocacy when his position was accepted.

His strong sense of who he was was evident from early, according to McDonald, as during his primary-school years, he would have his young schoolmates marching around the school, dreaming from an early age of an army career, instead of the lawyer his family expected him to become.

In the homily delivered by JDF chaplain, the Reverend Dr Webster Edwards, he said MacMillan's life and work, his integrity and positions in life suggested that like the biblical Enoch, his eulogy could be said in four words: ''He walked with God."

The congregation then sang the chorus of The Holy City, led by tenor, Commander John McFarlane. Then the army bade farewell with the Last Post and Reveille, and the congregation sang "Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord" as the family filed from the church, with his son, Gary, bearing his remains in an urn.