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Archive for November 9th, 2021

One Day of History

We began our morning early again but so excited to be a part of history.  Jeannine, Debbie, Flo and myself drove to Arlington National Cemetery.  We got there to a line of cars being checked through Security.  We got through the gates okay thanks to Jeannine’s pass.  We drove by Jack Kuhl’s grave (Jeannine’s father) as we drove up to the backside of Arlington trying to find a parking place so we didn’t have to walk miles.  There were cars and cops everywhere.  There were so many roads that had been blocked off.  We ended up parking ½ mile from the Tomb.  We had to walk down and up the hill finally reaching the Tomb.

When we got there the line was about half way from the Tomb.  We could hear drums beating from the center of the Amphitheater but we weren’t allowed near it.  We just followed the line until we reached the tents.  There were piles of roses under the tents and the volunteer told us over 40,000 roses were there for the tickets that were eligible to lay the roses.  No one really told us what to do but there was no noise anywhere as part of paying respect to the Unknown at the Tomb is no noise.

Right when we got to the front of the line I see SSG Silva, Sentinel Guard, off to my right.  I wave at him and he comes over.  I asked if he remembered us, QOH, and he said yes, of course.  I asked if he would take our pictures.  “Sure, and I’ll meet you on the other side as you come out.”  We decided to stay together and lay the roses all at once. You would have thought we had rehearsed it.  It was so special and we were all by ourselves up there.  Flo said she looked for the Tomb from Vietnam to lay her rose because of Johnnie but she saw the WWII dates and it reminded her of her dad.  Debbie said it reminded her of what her dad went through but she felt so honored that she started to cry.  Myself, I saluted like every other veteran that got to stand in front of that Tomb.  I knew we were a part of history and every time I think about it my heart hurts but in a good way.  This was the first time in 96 years that private citizens could do this and it will never be done again in our lifetime.  The honor was beyond amazing.

We left there and Debbie and I walked to get the car so that Jeannine and Flo wouldn’t have to walk so far.  When Debbie and I were walking among the graves at Arlington, it felt so sacred and I told her you know we have a lot of angels watching over us to be able to do what we just did – met the SSG at the right time, find a parking place, and as we often say, a God Thing.

So what a day but that wasn’t the end.  We decided to take some time off and drive to Williamsburg, VA and spend the night.  We started driving down the backroads of Virginia and came up to an old deserted church.  I did a half turn to get a picture and the no trespassing sign didn’t stop me.  Then we saw a barn and made a U-turn to get a picture for Mom.  We really were working our way and then see a sign, Belmont Distillery.  Guess what – detour down a dirt road and it was a whisky and moonshine distillery.  We walk in as I am excited it is my last name, and here stands an Air Force veteran working behind the counter.  In came a VIP tour and Dave, our veteran, took them into the distillery.  We asked Cheryl, who also worked there, if we could interrupt him because we wanted to honor him.  She said sure, so out to the car we go to pick a quilt.  We came back in and walked right into the back room in front of the distillery and presented him with a quilt.  The group was really shocked.  Dave was, too, but he gave me a hug and I knew it really reached his soul.  I could see it in his eyes.  He was also born and raised in California – small world.

We left there even feeling better having presented a quilt at Belmont Farms.  We did reach Williamsburg late afternoon, had a good dinner, and will be a tourist tomorrow.  But, what a day.

The colors were even better today but I didn’t want to bore you with more color pictures.  The weather yesterday and today has been beautiful.  I thank God for this special day and for all of you at home holding down the fort.

What a history making day in Arlington at the Tomb.  What an honor.

Stay tuned . . . . . . .

God’s blessings,
Gail

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