Friday, July 30, 2010


Back on the 2nd of June we attended a memorial with military honors for my father's mother. My grandma passed away back in 1982, just a few days before I turned 5 years old. She served as a nurse for the military during WWII, but records containing that information were destroyed in a fire before her death. So, when she was buried wasn't given her due military honors at the graveside. Over time my dad's brother Greg was eventually able to compile enough necessary information to prove her eligibility for those military honors. The day my grandpa chose for the family to gather together and do this ceremony was on her birthday...and his. They have the same birth-date!

When I pulled up to the memorial in my car with my boys, I saw that my dad wearing his uniform from his time in the service. That was long enough ago that I don't remember ever seeing him wear it, so that was novel. I was super impressed that he could still fit in them too! Not many grandpa's can still manage to fit into something that they wore in their 20's! Here is my dad holding Noah's hand during the ceremony:

My mom holding Lincoln:

Lincoln was kind of funny (for himself) that evening. During a good portion of the memorial he was actually a little bit somber as if he knew what the occasion was about.

(A shot of my dad saluting during the ceremony). I have never attended a memorial with military honors before. While there are many other people in my life that served in the military, I have been lucky enough not to have to part with them in this life yet. So, this was a special experience for me - and it was also nice to have a time to reflect on my grandma Virginia specifically. Before she died she was very ill (cancer), and since I was so young my memories are of her also are hazy. What I do remember clearly is visiting her in her bed at home. She was always so happy to see us, and always was pleased to offer us candy from her candy dish. I still do remember knowing, even at that young age, that she loved me. I share that because I have never documented my memories of my grandma Virginia.

Here is a quick clip of the lone bugler playing Taps:

Back in college I recorded an interview with my grandfather for a paper I wrote. I am looking for a copy of it, and if I find it then I will attach a link to it here. I do remember being so touched as he spoke not only of his experiences during the war, but also of his love for his country and specifically also for the American flag. In addition he talked to me about meeting his future wife (my grandma) during that time of his service. While my grandpa was a pilot during the war, he eventually became a physician (to my grandmother's initial dismay). I find it endearing though that they not only both shared a desire to serve others professionally within the medical field, but that they also both showed their devotion to their country through service during the war. I would imagine that it was special for my grandma to know that all her family was gathered together that day to honor her, and the allegiance that she demonstrated for our country.

Here my grandpa is being presented with the folded American flag. I read up on what the meanings are for each of the 13 folds in the flag for this ceremony, and found it fascinating. Apparently, the 13-fold practice was procedure long before the meanings were assigned to each fold. The assignment of meaning to each fold was added to give a dimension of religious significance to the ceremony. I found it beautiful to read through the list. I won't list all of them here, but would like to share the meaning of one: "The ninth fold of the flag is a tribute to womanhood, for it has been through their faith, love, loyalty and devotion the character of the men and women who have made the country great molded."

This is my grandpa making a few emotion filled remarks as he showed to us the robe which was his wife's as a nurse.

I love this picture of Lincoln and my dad.

My grandpa and my dad.

My grandpa with family members who attended in military cousin, cousin's husband, and my dad.

And, as with any family gathering, there was time to mingle and chat. The boys appreciated the chance to be unrestricted and roam about the beautiful cemetery grounds.

Afterward, my family (and Matt's girlfriend Katie) came back to our house for some refreshments and to play cards. My dad let Noah put on his uniform (which he loved), and here he is giving a serious military salute...


Jana said...

Thank you for documenting Grandma's service. It was a nice and meaningful gathering.
And the grandkids blog above is way cute. I love all four of our cuties so much!

Anna and Stephen said...

I'm sad to have missed it. I am so glad that you have some memory of Grandma. She died before I was born, but I am happy to have her name as my middle name. I would love to read the interview you did with Grandpa. Thanks for posting this and sharing your tender thoughts.