By Stephen Witt, Courier-Life
Police and military brass, along with rank-and-file members of the NYPD and military, stood three deep at attention along Ocean Avenue last week to bid a final farewell to one of their fallen comrades.
Such was the scene outside the funeral for 1st Lieutenant Daniel Farkas, 42, who died July 4 in a “non-hostile incident” at Camp Phoenix, Kabul, Afghanistan.
Farkas was also a sargeant in the NYPD assigned to the 112th Precinct in Queens and joined the New York Army National Guard in August 1992.
“The sages say that the day of a man's death is more important than the day of a man's birth, because when a person is born you don't know what lies ahead, but when they are dead the record of their deeds is done,” eulogized Rabbi Alvin Kass at the East Midwood Jewish Center at 1625 Ocean Ave. on July 14.
“Danny made an incredible journey, cramming several lifetimes in a short period of time,” he added.
Kass recalled how Farkas was a lifelong member of the synagogue, and attended the Rabbi Harry Halpern Day School downstairs before going on to graduate from nearby Edward R. Murrow High School.
Danny loved to camp in upstate New York, had a great sense of humor and was always in great physical shape, said Kass.
“His chosen calling was in both the NYPD and the military, and he earned a reputation as being tough but fair. He was always in great shape and accepted any challenge that came his way,” recalled Kass.
Kass recalled Farkas devoting hours digging through the World Trade Center rubble following the Sept. 11 attacks, as well as going to New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina to help rebuild police officers' homes and helping train police in war-torn Kosovo.
Prior to being deployed to Afghanistan, Farkas was assigned to Battery B, 1st Battalion 258th Field Artillery, based in the Bronx.
Farkas' awards included the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Armed Forces Reserve Medal, the Overseas Service Ribbon and the National Defense Service Medal.
He was also awarded the New York State Defense of Liberty Medal for his service in Manhattan following the World Trade Center attacks.
Upon his death, Farkas was in the National Guard's 27th Brigade Combat Team, which in turn was part of the Combined Joint Task Force Phoenix, a multi-national force of more than 8,000 U.S. and NATO service personnel training the Afghan National Army and Police.
U.S. Defense Department officials would not comment on the cause of his death and said the matter is still under investigation.
Meanwhile, outside the sanctuary following the funeral, scores of old friends and congregants looked at pictures of Farkas with tears in their eyes, reminiscing of the times and laughs they shared with the fallen soldier.
“Danny was a great man. We went skiing together in high school,” recalled Peter Kapsalis, a high school friend. “He was a silent little tough guy, really heroic. He was a big guy, but his demeanor was small.”
Farkas is survived by his mother, Mirjam, three sisters, two brothers and numerous nieces and nephews.
Following the service, Farkas was laid to rest at Montefiore Cemetery in Queens.