by Mollie McDaniel
When I worked in a funeral home inquiring friends frequently asked if I had witnessed a funeral that the images were so overwhelming that I could not forget. My answer was always yes. There was one special memory I trust I shall never forget. The impressions made that day are stamped upon my memory and engraved upon my heart forever. The special memory was framed in time when Mr. J. T. Morriss V allowed me to accompany the Funeral Director Curtis Craft to attend a service with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery, Arlington, Va.
If I remember correctly, the procession consisted of a military band, escort, caisson, firing party, casket team, lone bugler, and a chaplain. This special memory has become a sacred memory framed in time.
Every time I see a casket draped in our flag of the United States of America, I now see beyond the sacred page. I see Arlington National Cemetery as a monument to freedom where freedom’s gold child – Liberty is wrapped in tears and tender love and laid to rest on America’s lap to sleep…sleep in heavenly peace. When I hear “Taps,” I listen with eyes and hear with my heart I see endless rows of white crosses. I hear the somber sound of the horse’s huffs and the cadence of the caisson rolling across the cobblestones. I smell the freshly manicured green grass and the scent of the good earth that is open and waiting to receive and to hold the nation’s newest treasure, a child of gold. I taste the salty tears of sacrifice. I reach out to touch the strength of this great nation – I touch the face of God, who at this precious moment in time is touching the hearts of the family members of a loved one who gave his life for each of us so that we, the people, might remain free.
No great love. No greater sacrifice. Priceless. Let us listen with the eyes and let us hear with the heart of memory of this Holy ground. Let us remember, let us never forget.
The memory of the day I spent at Arlington National Cemetery when all five of my senses stood at attention to call to my mind the sixth sense of wonder – The wonder of freedom. The wonder of freedom is “my special sacred memory framed in time.”