Cemetery Escort Duty

Discussion in 'General Conversation' started by olefin, Sep 23, 2007.

  1. olefin

    olefin New Member

    Messages:
    3,908
    State:
    Texas
    Well worth the time it takes to read.


    I just wanted to get the day over with and go down to Smokey's for a
    few cold ones. Sneaking a look at my watch, I saw the time, 16:55.

    Five minutes to go before the cemetery gates are closed for the day.

    Full dress was hot in the August sun. Oklahoma summertime was as bad
    as ever -- the heat and humidity at the same level -- both too high.

    I saw the car pull into the drive, '69 or '70 model Cadillac Deville,
    looked factory-new. It pulled into the parking lot at a snail's pace.

    An old woman got out so slow I thought she was paralyzed. She had a
    cane and a sheaf of flowers, about four or five bunches as best I could
    tell. I couldn't help myself. The thought came unwanted, and left a
    slightly bitter taste: "She's going to spend an hour, and for this old
    soldier my hip hurts like hell and I'm ready to get out of here right
    now!"

    But for this day my duty was to assist anyone coming in. Kevin would
    lock the "In" gate and if I could hurry the old biddy along , we might
    make the last half of happy hour at Smokey's.

    I broke Post Attention My hip made gritty noises when I took the
    first step and the pain went up a notch. I must have made a real
    military sight; middle-aged man with a small pot-gut and half a limp,
    in Marine Full Dress Uniform, which had lost its razor crease about 30
    minutes after I began the watch at the cemetery.

    I stopped in front of her, halfway up the walk. She looked up at me
    with an old woman's squint.

    "Ma'am, may I assist you in any way?"

    She took long enough to answer. "Yes, son. Can you carry these
    flowers? I seem to be moving a tad slow these days."

    "My pleasure Ma'am." Well, it wasn't too much of a lie.

    She looked again. "Marine, where were you stationed?"

    "Vietnam, Ma'am. Ground-pounder. '69 to '71."

    She looked at me closer. "Wounded in action, I see. Well done,
    Marine. I'll be as quick as I can."

    I lied a little bigger "No hurry, Ma'am."

    She smiled, and winked at me. "Son, I'm 85-years old and I can tell a
    lie from a long way off.
    Let's get this done. Might be the last time I can do this. My name's
    Joanne Wieserman, and I've a few Marines I'd like to see one more time."

    "Yes, Ma'am. At your service."

    She headed for the World War I section, stopping at a stone. She
    picked one of the bunches out of my arm and laid it on top of the
    stone. She murmured something I couldn't quite make out. The name on
    the marble was Donald S. Davidson, USMC, France 1918.

    She turned away and made a straight line for the World War II
    section, stopping at one stone.

    I saw a tear slowly tracking its way down her cheek.

    She put a bunch on a stone; the name was
    Stephen X. Davidson, USMC, 1943.

    She went up the row a ways and laid another bunch on a stone,
    Stanley J. Wieserman USMC , 1944.

    She paused for a second, "Two more, son, and we'll be done." I almost
    didn't say anything, but, "Yes, Ma'am. Take your time." She looked
    confused. "Where's the Vietnam section, son?
    I seem to have lost my way."

    I pointed with my chin. "That way, Ma'am."

    "Oh!" she chuckled quietly. "Son, me and old age ain't too friendly."

    She headed down the walk I'd pointed at. She stopped at a couple of
    stones before she found the ones she wanted.

    She placed a bunch on Larry Wieserman USMC, 1968, and the last on
    Darrel Wieserman USMC, 1970.

    She stood there and murmured a few words I still couldn't make out.
    "OK, son, I'm finished. Get me back to my car and you can go home."

    "Yes, Ma'am. If I may ask, were those your kinfolk ?"

    She paused. "Yes, Donald Davidson was my father; Stephen was my
    uncle; Stanley was my husband; Larry and Darrel were our sons. All
    killed in action, all Marines." She stopped, whether she had finished,
    or couldn't finish, I don't know. She made her way to her car, slowly,
    and painfully.

    I waited for a polite distance to come between us and then
    double-timed it over to Kevin waiting by the car. "Get to the
    "Out"-gate quick. I have something I've got to do."

    Kevin started to say something but saw the look I gave him. He broke
    the rules to get us there down the service road. We beat her. She
    hadn't made it around the rotunda yet.

    "Kevin, stand to attention next to the gate post. Follow my lead." I
    humped it across the drive to the other post.

    When the Cadillac came puttering around from the hedges and began the
    short straight traverse to the gate, I called in my best gunny's voice:
    "TehenHut! Present Haaaarms!"

    I have to hand it to Kevin, he never blinked an eye; full dress
    attention and a salute that would make his DI proud. She drove through
    that gate with two old worn-out soldiers giving her a send off she
    deserved, for service rendered to her country, and for knowing Duty,
    Honor and Sacrifice.

    I am not sure, but I think I saw a salute returned from that
    Cadillac.

    Instead of "The End"....just think of "Taps".

    As a final thought on my part, let me share a favorite prayer:

    "Lord, keep our servicemen and women safe, whether they serve at home
    or overseas. Hold them in Your loving hands and protect them as they
    protect us."

    Let's all keep those currently serving and those who have gone
    before, in our thoughts.

    They are the reason for the many freedoms we enjoy. In Jesus' Name,

    Amen


     
  2. postbeetle

    postbeetle New Member

    Messages:
    6,598
    State:
    Iowa
    Thanks Olefin. Message too short it says, so Thanks again Olefin.
     

  3. Ol Man

    Ol Man New Member

    Messages:
    3,170
    State:
    Illinois
    Thank you Dayton, I think we all needed that...
    __________
    Avenge yourself; live long enough to be a problem to your children.
     
  4. Bubbakat

    Bubbakat New Member

    Messages:
    4,532
    State:
    McMinnvill
    You always seem to know when to post these eye openers Dayton. Thanks.
     
  5. BIG GEORGE

    BIG GEORGE New Member

    Messages:
    10,362
    State:
    JOISY
    Like I always say. "Ya done it again" THANX!
     
  6. cat tamer

    cat tamer New Member

    Messages:
    694
    State:
    MO
    Thanks Dayton for all you do and have done.
     
  7. FS Driver

    FS Driver New Member

    Messages:
    2,323
    State:
    swansea,illinoi
    great post dayton ! thanks.
     
  8. punkin570

    punkin570 New Member

    Messages:
    2,015
    State:
    MS
    Thanks for sharing that Dayton, very inspirational.
     
  9. peewee williams

    peewee williams New Member

    Messages:
    3,111
    State:
    Pembroke,Georgia
    So few give so much for so many.So many give so little for so few.I love you Brothers and Sisters.peewee
     
  10. Mi11er

    Mi11er New Member

    Messages:
    5,117
    State:
    Independence, M
    Great post. We all need a reminder sometimes of the pain that not just the people in the field feel. I think that we all need to think of the mothers and fathers right now woundering if there son or daughter is safe. God Bless all of you that are going though that.
     
  11. Catpaw

    Catpaw Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    9,181
    State:
    Central Cail
    Name:
    James
    Great post Dayton....Thank's:wink:
     
  12. Ketch

    Ketch New Member

    Messages:
    469
    State:
    Minnesota
    Amazing post, thanks for sharing that.
     
  13. chambers bd

    chambers bd New Member

    Messages:
    1,134
    State:
    Sautee,Geo
    GOD BLESS YOU Gunney
    freedom is not free
    Thank god we have men and women who are willing to pay the price for us all
     
  14. Catfish_Commando

    Catfish_Commando TF Staff Member

    Messages:
    7,005
    State:
    Georgia
  15. pk_powell

    pk_powell New Member

    Messages:
    3,485
    State:
    Missouri
    Too often we as humans get involved with our busy everyday lives and forget about what our Military men and women have done for us ,so that we can get busy and forget about what is really happening in our world. Thank you for being so generous as to remind us by posting this wonderful post. I thank you very much Sir!:big_smile:
     
  16. bluejay

    bluejay Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    8,502
    State:
    Napoleon, Mo.
    Thank you Dayton. I needed that today. Keep it up.
     
  17. SkipEye

    SkipEye Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,525
    State:
    Winfield, MO
    Name:
    Darryl
    Thanks for postin that story Dayton. If'n I wasn't so manly I might have teared up a little bit. But I didn't. I swear, not me, nope.:0a10:
     
  18. GoFish_Tony

    GoFish_Tony New Member

    Messages:
    600
    State:
    Big Rock, IL
    Thank you Dayton,
    Once again, you have helped us to see the (often understated) price paid by our men and women in uniform throughout history.

    To all past, present, and future defenders of our freedom...
    From the bottom of my heart....
    THANK YOU!!

    God Bless the U.S.A.

    _
     
  19. Mickey

    Mickey New Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    14,592
    State:
    Illinois

    Amen!!Dayton thanks for sharing.