May 25th, 2014:

THOUGHTS OF MEMORIAL DAY

Memorial Day reminds me of cemeteries and the fact I’m a proud Army brat. I’ve been to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery and watched as a trained soldier walked his special pace back and forth in front of the memorial. It’s a very moving ceremony and reminds me even more of my connection to the US Military. Because of modern technology, the Vietnam War unknown soldier has been identified using DNA. It seems unlikely now that there will be another unknown soldier.

 

Brigadier General Victor W. Hobson, Arlington National Cemetery

Brigadier General Victor W. Hobson, Arlington National Cemetery

 

My birth father, Brigadier General V.W. Hobson is buried at Arlington National Cemetery; the stepfather who raised me, Colonel A.D. Williams, is buried in a military cemetery close to Provo, Utah. My mother, who died too young at Brooke Army Hospital in San Antonio, was first laid to rest in the Ft. Sam Houston cemetery in Texas and over 20 years later buried on top of my dad in Utah. Both fathers had military funerals with gun salutes, etc.

My son Hans found the grave of his grandfather, Brigadier General Victor W. Hobson at Arlington National Cemetery last year. He and Jen, his wife, were celebrating their first year wedding anniversary with a short trip to Washington, D.C. They had been there some years ago, but this trip as a couple was a special one. Their hotel overlooked the infamous Watergate complex and was near Memorial Bridge. Arlington Cemetery, with its thousands of military graves and the eternal flame from the Kennedy graves, was just across the Potomac. It was Hans’ idea to check out the historical graveyard and look for my birth father’s grave. I’d never seen it, since I wasn’t able to travel across country to his funeral. I had luckily connected with him for the last time a few years before he died in 2000, hours shy of my 58th birthday. The photo my son took brought sentimental thoughts, especially since I had not grown up with my father–World War II and a divorce stood in the way. I did not meet him “officially” until I turned 21. Using the excuse of family history, I looked him up when he was stationed at the Pentagon.

There were no guns for my mother’s funeral but lots of tears and laughter as we remembered her. Fittingly, because of her love of music, the famous jazz musician Duke Ellington died on the day of her Texas funeral. My sister and I had our own private ceremony when we decided her coffin needed to be moved so that her grave would at least be close to family. After all, an Army wife is used to moving without being asked her opinion. I thought it was fitting that she was in the top position of the grave this time, with her husband on the bottom. As a matter of fact, she would have had a good laugh. Military wives learn early on to see humor almost everywhere.

Here’s to all those who have died for the good old USA, all those still protecting us, which now includes plenty of women, and to all the wives and families who support our military.

 

 

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