Sunset - June 2, 2020

Sunset - June 2, 2020

Sunday, September 17, 2017

A promise kept...

.....Eternal Father, strong to save,
Whose arm hath bound the restless wave,
Who bidd'st the mighty ocean deep,
It's own appointed limits keep.

Oh hear us when we cry to Thee,
For those in peril in the sea.

The Navy Hymn
Written in 1860 by Reverend William Whiting - Winchester, England

Hearing this familiar hymn is always so poignant. Moreso on Wednesday, September 13, 2017 as we said a final farewell to my Mom and Dad at Arlington National Cemetery.

Unknowingly, our long time, dearest family friend, a Navy Band widow herself, had arranged to have the U S Ceremonial Band present for the funeral. She knew exactly who to contact. (This is an honor normally reserved for highest ranking officers. But she has kept close ties since 1960 when her husband, along with 18 other U S Navy Band members, were lost in an air plane crash while on tour with President Eisenhower in Brazil. Dad had retired from the Band months before this tragedy and of course he and Mom knew everyone who perished - the loss was beyond words. The men are buried at Arlington also - I still remember attending that huge funeral even though it was 57 years ago)

Following words of comfort from the Navy Chaplain, Taps was performed by the bugler and the American flag was then carefully and precisely folded by the 8 member Navy Ceremonial Honor Guard and presented to me with the spoken words...

"On behalf of the President of the United States, United States Navy and a grateful nation, please accept this flag as a symbol of our appreciation for your loved one's honorable and faithful service"

(Historical note: A properly proportioned flag will fold 13 times on the triangles, representing the 13 original colonies. The folded flag is emblematic of the tri-cornered hat worn by the Patriots of the American Revolution. When folded, no red or white stripe is to be evident, leaving only the blue field with stars.)

The bugler was a young man we know - he and our son swam on the same swim team throughout their school years. He is also from Wisconsin and is a member of the U S Navy Band...Dad played Taps for countless funerals at Arlington during his own career and it was so meaningful to have someone we know play Taps for him.

The entire staff at ANC has been wonderful to work with - they are all a special group of people.

And so we have kept our promise to Dad and Mom and they now rest in "these hallowed grounds" with over 400,000 men and women who have served our country.

Rest in peace, Mom and Dad - together forever...


  1. Pat....I have been to Arlington and it is a very moving experience to be in the presence of all those white headstones and the meaning behind them. Your post just choked me up; and I know you are so proud. Thank you for sharing this with us. Hugs for your heart as I know this has brought back all the memories happy and sad. May you find peace.

  2. What a story that you shared today. Thank you for that, as I'm sure this was full of mixed emotions for you. Big hugs to you

  3. Your post today was very moving. Thank you for sharing your family's story.

  4. Goosebumps.
    What a meaningful ceremony, special in so many ways.
    Hugs to you and your family.

  5. I'm so sorry about your parents, but what an honor to have them resting in ANC.
    We lived for 19 years just west of ANC where taps was heard each evening and at the funerals. I looked forward to hearing it each evening. Altho a very peaceful and reassuring sound, still I never got beyond the damp eyes. And during the daytime, the tears did fall, knowing someone was saying goodby. What special experience it was to live there.


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