Sunday, December 11, 2011

Emotions... they run high

Yesterday was the Wreaths Across America where live wreaths are laid on every veterans grave in the United States. I awoke early and headed to the cemetery. As I drove along in the cold, crisp air my mind wandered  back to a similiar morning so many years ago on Dec. 10, 1950. It was on a day just like today that Elbert and I were married..... 61 years ago.

At the cemetery, I waited while the large truck arrived with the wreaths and then I got into line, along with tons of other people, to help place the greenery.

 Once I had the wreath in hand, I walked to where Elbert lay and leaned the circle of green against his tomb. It didn't look right to me and, as I straightened it, tears sprang to my eyes. So many memories, so much pride, such longing for days of yore when we were young and happy.

The ceremony followed at noon. We had a long moment of silence to honor those who had deceased. I could visualize the thousands, tens of thousands of loved ones, workers, volunteers who at this very moment sat with their heads bowed across the spanse of land from Maine to California and beyond. My heart filled with gratitude that what small part Elbert had played in keeping this country safe was being recognized and appreciated.

There was the placing of colors, the pledge to the flag, and I looked over and saw an old gentleman standing with his gnarled hand resting above his right eye in salute. I remembered the numerous times I had seen Elbert give a salute to his fellow officers, everytime he boarded the ship, when he was saluted himself. And, I remembered the last time I had seen Elbert give a salute. Our grandson was visiting and he begged his aging grandfather to don his Lt. uniform. Elbert was already deep into Alzheimers so we just slipped the jacket on and placed his hat on his head. Elbert slowly stood up and gave his grandson a salute.

For the final part of the ceremony, a bagpiper led the crowd to where the very first 25 veterans were interred in this particular cemetery.

 I stood watching as each member of some branch of service honored the person they had just placed a wreath for.

And, then the bugler began Taps...

and my mind flashed back to January 5th of this year when another bugler played Taps for Elbert's funeral.

The music for Taps is so solemn, so sad. I wonder what was going through the young mans mind when he wrote those notes first on paper. I listened to every note ringing out over the white stone tombs and I felt at peace knowing that Elbert was resting and at peace in a place where his service was truly appreciated.

As the last notes of 'Amazing Grace' vanished out of the bagpipes Shirley, John and I walked back to Elbert's grave.

 We visited at the site for a few minutes and then we walked away, daughter and wife of the veteran we loved, arm in arm.

please go to my other blog to see other pictures


Jenn Jilks said...

That is a very beautiful post, Latane, if you'll excuse the pun!
He's smiling down on you now.
You are the strong woman behind the man who could serve his country. I am proud to know you!

rkbsnana said...

You married in 1950 - the same year my parents married. What a special tribute to who I am sure was a special man. I am sure these are difficult times for you. I did love the picture of you and your daughter arm and arm.

Marie said...

Oh, Mom, this had to be sounds like such a beautiful and touching ceremony. I can't imagine, though, you making it through Taps...and for it to be your Anniversary too. I love you. And I am thankful for Dad, and feel like you do that he is resting in the place he wanted to be. The Christmas wreath draws him into our celebration of Christmas this year, his first one away from all of us. And I am thankful for that as well.

Anonymous said...

hugs and love to you and your daughter...

La Principessa Errante said...

Truly beautiful, you have left me with a tear in my eye and a smile in my heart. Merry Christmas.