Last summer I wrote of a trip to Disney World and a visit to see my grandparents. I never imagined it would be the last time I saw my grandfather. But I am hardwired for optimism. Two days after I posted about our visit my grandfather passed away.
For the first time in twenty years our family gathered. My grandmother, her children, their spouses and their children. We were mothers, fathers, sisters,brothers, aunts, uncles, cousins and nieces. We were a family, gathered at Arlington National Cemetery for his memorial. That old expression “there wasn’t a dry eye in the house…” it applies.
The young sailors folding the flag, some of them didn’t look to be a day over 18. The reading of my grandfather’s obituary, the three-volley salute, the bugler playing Taps, the recitation of Anchors Aweigh including the lines from the second verse “Until we meet once more, Here’s wishing you a happy voyage home!” it’s as if they won’t let you leave until you shed a tear.
My grandfather wasn’t one to go for all that folderal. But he’d have gotten a kick out of one thing. “Go Navy, Beat Army!” the officer said in closing. And four generations smiled through their tears.