Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Arlington and a Celebration

Arlington National Cemetery performs 27 to 30 funeral services each day. The grounds of Arlington National Cemetery honor those who have served our nation by providing a sense of beauty and peace for our guests. The rolling green hills are dotted with trees that are hundreds of years in age and complement the gardens found throughout the 624 acres of the cemetery. This impressive landscape serves as a tribute to the service and sacrifice of every individual laid to rest within the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.

Bill's dad passed away on Nov. 17, 2011 and was interred in Arlington on Jan. 6, 2012.  Bill's nephew and niece (from Michigan) came to visit this past weekend so we could celebrate their grandfather's birthday together. He would have been 94 years old on January 19th.  Part of that celebration was making sure they got to visit Arlington.  So half of our group of sixteen headed for Washington DC Saturday morning.  It was our first visit.....Bill quickly walked ahead of us to look for his Dad.

In a couple months a permanent, a carved marble niche cover will replace the temporary paper tag that's in a vinyl pocket on this group of niches.  It will have my father-in-law's and mother-in-law's names on it...along with his rank and branch of service, his date of death and of interment.  We're allowed to put fresh flowers in cones in the bed that's below the niches.  Flags are placed there for Memorial Day.  We're looking forward to going again in the Spring. It's fortunate that we live only an hour or so away. 
(In the photo above, Bill and David are looking at some of the permanent carved niche covers already in place.)


I've never been to Arlington in the winter time....it was beautiful with the snow and wreaths. It was also very overcast and I was in a moving vehicle when I took this photo...so excuse the blur.

We all gathered at my house for New England Boiled Dinner  (I'm sorry, I forgot to take pictures of the food preparation and eating...this is just a generic link in case you don't know what it is.)  New England Boiled Dinner was my father-in-law's favorite meal. He'd eat it twice a week if Bill cooked it that often. Since he moved in with us we always had it for his birthday and this year would be no different. 
After dinner we shared COSTCO cookies (another favorite of his) and stories about him.  If you'd care to read some of the stories we shared you can click here...and start with the Oct. 25th post. 
I printed out the photo and poem I shared in this blog post and framed them....one for each of his six grandchildren.  His great-grandchildren will be getting special porcelain ornaments with a picture of "Super-Grandpa" on them...my friend Patricia is going to make them for us.

His six grandchildren, plus spouses or significant others, and four great-grandchildren. He left quite a legacy...I know he was very proud of each one of them. 

Almost always........

Mona Lisa also visited from Michigan.  She spent Sunday afternoon and early evening with me while malls and restaurants were being visited by the others.  She was the quietest little thing. She's quite good at catch too!  Mona almost made me think that having a little dog around might be nice. But I came to my senses after I returned her to her owners.

  I remember my mother-in-law's memorial service...she had asked me to speak at it. After I was finished I went up to my father-in-law and asked "How did I do?"  He said, "You cried too much. You need to just move on."
It was a lovely weekend...we celebrated the life of a wonderful man.  It's time to remember his words. Don't cry too much and it's time to move on. It's time to find our new normal.
But, we're sure going to miss him!

She even got a picture of me!


Shelley said...

Beautiful is all I can say Marie....beautiful life...beautiful family.

LDH said...

Dear Marie, This is a most precious tribute to Bill's dad. The trip to Arlington and the photos are so special. John and I visited Arlington on our last DC visit. We didn't think we would spend much time there but we spent a very long time. It is a beautiful place!

Blessings, Sweet Friend!

idémakeriet said...

Special photos on a special place.
Thanks for your sweet comment on my blog.
Hugs Gerda

Ann said...

A wonderful way to celebrate a special life. I bet that your father in law would have approved of the day. I love the second group shot, silly is always fun

Ann said...

I almost forgot to say that Duke thinks that Mona Lisa is a real looker :)