Sunday, November 10, 2013

Honoring Our Veterans

I may be one of the most patriotic people on the face of the earth.  I love America! My church  does a great job honoring veterans each year around Veteran’s Day and I look forward to the service every year. I get teary eyed as a member of each branch of the military marches into the service. This is the one day of the year when I miss my grandfather terribly. Being a veteran of World War II, my grandfather saw to it that many of our vacations taken when I was growing up involved a visit to some type of war memorial. Having been able to travel to other countries, including Communist countries, I have a tremendous appreciation for those who have fought to preserve our freedoms that so many in this country take for granted.  Our family was able to travel to a Communist country when my kids were young teenagers. That was probably the most educational activity they have ever participated in, including graduating from high school and college! Thank God, they get it! They understand that we are privileged to live in the USA and even get angry when they see others who so grossly lack an appreciation for our country. I also get teary eyed when we see young men and women of the military coming and going through the airports when we are traveling. I always quietly pray for their safety and for their parents and families who are left at home. Our pastor always encourages us to “buy someone a Coke” and we have been honored to pick up the tab at various airport eating establishments for military personnel that happen to be in the food line near us. They have always very graciously accepted our small token of appreciation. I encourage you to do likewise. You will be blessed.

This past week we had the honor of attending the funeral of a family member at Arlington National Cemetery. It was a well deserved honor for a career Marine and was a very impressive ceremony. The setting was beautiful. It was a very crisp fall morning, about 35 degrees, and the foliage was gorgeous.

Arlington 1

Arlington 2

Arlington foliage 3

Arlington foliage 4

Arlington foliage 5

The funeral started at the Administration building and proceeded to a meeting point to meet the caisson.

Caisson procession

A large group of Marines was waiting for the family to arrive.

maraine salute 1

Marine salute 2

There were so many Marines there, I couldn’t get all of them in one photo! I understand that this funeral was with highest honor which is based on the honors received while in service.

After a salute and a brief hymn played by a Marine band, the Marines led the procession to the site of the service.

Marine procession

Caisson procession 2

Soon we arrived at the site for the service.

Arrival at the service

at the service

The service lasted about 30 minutes and was conducted by a military chaplain who did an excellent job. Even the ceremonial folding of the flag was very impressive.

folding the flag 1

folding the flag 2

The service concluded with a 21 gun salute followed by the playing of Taps. There were 7 Marines in the photo below but one was cropped out so as not to include any                         non-Military personnel attending the funeral.

21gun salute

This photo taken with my phone, gives an idea of how many Marines were involved in the service. We counted at least 100!

recessional 2

recessional

It was very fitting that this was just before Veteran’s Day. After the service, we hustled to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to see the changing of the guard.

tomb of the Unknown Soldier 

Notice the skyline with the Capitol and the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

Changing of the Guard

We also took a couple of family photos. The first one is of my parents and my daughter. My mother has kept my grandfather’s Navy pea coat from WWII all these years. I now have it and we wear it on special occasions. This was one of those occasions. My daughter had the honor of wearing the “coat” to the funeral in honor of my grandfather and our other military family members.

family shot 1

I am in the next photo of 3 generations.

3 generations

The last photo is of my husband and daughter and me.

family shot 2

We love DC and all of the historic buildings and monuments. One of my favorites is the Iwo Jima Memorial.

Iwo Jima

Another favorite is the World War II Memorial. My grandfather would be so proud. He and three of his brothers were all deployed at the same time! My grandfather was from South Carolina and served in the Pacific, specifically in Guam. My daughter is wearing his Navy coat in all of the photos below.

WW II memorial

South carolina

Pacific

Guam

To all of those who are currently serving or who have served in the past, I am forever grateful.

a signature

I’ll be linking to Amaze Me Monday at Dwellings - the Heart of Your Home, to Metamorphosis Monday at Between Naps on the Porch and to Inspire Me Tuesday at A Stroll Through Life.

 

7 comments:

Joyce Olson said...

Thank you for sharing this very honorable memorial and interesting facts about the Marines. It was indeed a beautiful Fall day.
Jemma

Gina @ VictorianWannaBe said...

Visiting from Amaze Me Monday. Beautiful post, wow! My daughter's name is Lydia too. I like how you used purple, is that because of the Lydia in the Bible?
Have a great week,
Gina

Vel Criste said...

Thank you for sharing this Pat. As an immigrant to this country, I am in constant awe at the courage, sacrifice and self-less acts our soldiers do for us day in and day out. I believe America and all it's veterans is the BEST in the world. I salute all you vets and a big THANK YOU!

Kim Hood said...

A beautiful post, Pat! Honoring those that sacrificed so much for our freedom is the least we can do. Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures and experience. :-)
His blessings,
Kim @ Curtain Queen Creates

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Such a beautiful post honoring all of those in service. The funerals are always so touching and impresssive. Beautiful family pics too. Thanks tons for linking to Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

Jane@Cottage at the Crossroads said...

Pat, I so enjoyed reading your Veterans Day tribute and seeing the photos of your family. Leo's father was in the Navy and served in the Pacific including Guam. How remarkable that your family still has the pea coat!

Victoria Pierce said...

Those feelings of yours are true and just. Veterans have put up with a lot, being in combat at the front lines, doing their patriotic duty and upholding the sovereignty of the state. That is why we should always reach out to them, and hold them up when they stumble and when they are most needed, like a fellow comrade-in-arms, serving the country, and fighting the same fight for freedom that they do. It's the least we can do as citizens. It's a lot of what we can do as people who believe in the common need.

Victoria Pierce @ Jan Dils