Barry Delaney and Kevin Elliott were the best of friends for more than a decade. Introduced by Elliott's sister back in 2005, the two hit it off immediately and became practically inseparable. That is, until Elliott's military tours took him into some of the world's most dangerous combat zones. No matter what happened, the best friends had made a promise in case Elliott did meet an untimely death while serving. But Delaney never thought he would have to worry about keeping it...
Always At The Pub
Before Elliott's military career took off, the pair could be found drinking and having a good time together in any number of pubs in Dundee, U.K. Even when Elliott was stationed in other locations, they would see each other as much as possible whenever he was back home in Dundee. Delaney carried on at home working odd jobs.
His Last Visit
On Elliott's last visit before being deployed to Afghanistan, the two men had an important conversation about what would happen if he died out there. Though they were laughing and acting like it would never play out, there was an element of seriousness to the talk and they made promises to one another in case Elliot's funeral became a reality.
It's not the ideal job for everyone, but Elliott was a career soldier, who served several terms with the military. He was passionate about his job and dedicated to serving his country, but he had a strange feeling that he just couldn't shake. He became anxious to return home from his last tour, certain that something bad was going to happen soon.
When he returned to Dundee, still with the overwhelming feeling that something was seriously wrong, Elliott decided that he had to talk to Delaney about the future. They spoke about the reality that something bad could happen to Elliott out on the field and he made Delaney promise to wear something very special to his funeral if he didn't make it out there.
The Neon Dress
Elliott's request wasn't for Delaney to wear something sentimental, as you might have thought, given the seriousness of the event. The thing Delaney promised to wear was a brightly colored dress. He certainly had the opportunity to get out of it - Delaney didn't have to tell anyone about the promise. But he kept it anyway, and turned up to the funeral in the dress.
He Deviated A Little
The neon yellow dress that Delaney ended up wearing wasn't quite what Elliott had specified. The dress they spoke about in the pact had to be pink with green polka dots. But when the time came, Delaney couldn't find any such dress, so he compromised with the next best thing. Nobody could fault the efforts of this dedicated friend.
He Added Socks
Delaney had to improvise with the dress and when he couldn't find a pink one with green polka dots, he figured a neon yellow one with a sweetheart neckline was the next tackiest option. It was his idea to add pink knee-high socks, as a nod to the original promise of a pink dress. The promise in general? That was Elliott's idea, of course.
Hundreds Attended The Funeral
As a much-loved member of his community and a friend to everyone, the turn out for Elliott's funeral was massive. While in Afghanistan, Elliott was killed in an ambush that was orchestrated by the Taliban. Sadly for Elliot and everyone who knew him, his feeling that something bad was going to happen was right on the money.
His Fellow Servicemen Were Devastated
Elliott's co-soldiers were carrying his casket at his funeral, and were clearly devastated at the loss of one of their own. As part of the military, they know they're most at risk on the frontlines, but it doesn't make the loss any easier to bear. All they can do is keep trying to make a positive contribution to a future without war or conflict.
A Heartbreaking Scene
All wearing custom-made t-shirts with his image and a personal message, watching Elliott's family say goodbye was a heartbreaking scene for everyone involved. They really focused on remembering all the wonderful things about Elliott and tried to forget the horrible events that brought them to his funeral. That's the way he would've wanted it, they said.
Nothing Less Than The Best
Elliott was given a proper soldier's burial for his meaningful work serving the country. Rounds were fired into the air by the armed guards, dressed in full Scottish kilts for the somber event. Everyone remembered him as a happy, hilarious, and selfless friend, who was simply taken way too soon. He absolutely deserved the best send off the country could give.
Delaney Was Crushed
While decked out in his neon yellow dress, there was really nothing funny about Delaney's presence at the funeral. But he stayed true to his word and we're sure Elliott was laughing from wherever he is now. Though he tried to get into the spirit, Delaney was struggling not to completely breakdown for the duration of his best friend's funeral.
Elliott Was A Live Wire
When people asked about Elliott, Delaney described him as a "live wire" who was always trying to make people laugh and feel happy. We're guessing that was his goal when he made his friend promise to wear a dress to his funeral, too. The funeral was a depressing scene, but we're willing to bet everybody came together for a laugh afterwards.
Being part of a tightknit community, it didn't take long for the word to spread about Delaney's unusual promise to Elliott regarding funeral attire. "There were a few raised eyebrows, a few looks, but everyone was aware of the promise I had made Kevin," said Delaney. We're sure everyone felt massive respect for Delaney when he actually went through with it.
Remembering The Good Times
Throughout the sadness, family and friends had to continue to remind themselves to treasure the memories of Elliott, instead of entering a spiral of pain. Elliott was all about the laughs and everyone knew it. "Every moment with Kevin was a good time, he wanted to put a smile on everyone's face," said Delaney at the funeral.
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