Anchors Aweigh

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Pop-Pop's memorial card and two of the cartridges fired at his service

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.

2 responses to “Anchors Aweigh

  1. Aww, sweetums. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  2. it was a perfect tribute to the guy who never asked to be the center of attention — unless there was a good joke to be told. Well, almost perfect. Scott is out to sea, and we all said at one time or other during the day how much we wished he’d been there too…to see me and my brother laughing at something random, to see me with my arm around my sister-in-law, or to watch my niece with Lucy or Elle.

    I took my mother to the airport a few minutes ago…hoping she gets home without a lot of trouble, and hoping in the back of my mind that it isn’t her last trip to NoVa. I don’t know if she enjoyed herself or not, or if she’ll be okay when she gets home. I worry about her all the time, even when she’s aggravating me by asking me questions before she puts her hearing aids in…she’s my mom after all and my last parent. A part of your self can remain a kid if your parents are still alive. Guess I don’t want to finish growing up. Who does.

    Thanks for being there, Kelly, with your terrific family. And to all who came — what a good family we have! xo

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