Memorial Day … “In Honored Memory”

On this Memorial Day while enjoying the freedom to gather with our family and friends, have a backyard barbecue, go to the lake, or just enjoy having an extended weekend our thoughts and prayers are for those whom “Memorial Day” is just one more day of heartbreak and loss they live with every day of the year.

“Lest we forget … freedom isn’t free.”

On this Memorial Day I wanted to write about a trip we took in April of 2018 to Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.. Finally, 43 years after the Vietnam War was over, also known as “The Helicopter War” there was going to be a dedication held at Arlington National Cemetery for all the helicopter pilots and crew members (approximately 5,000) who were killed in Vietnam.

Loading up the troops for another combat assault

I originally planned to have this blog done in time for Memorial Day 2018, but writing it so soon after our trip, the memories and emotions of our special time together were too poignant and I had to wait until this Memorial Day.

Richard and I began our Memorial trip (over 4,600 miles in all) from Texas and drove to St. Louis, Missouri to pick up Sherry. Our dear friend, Sherry … who before a war in Vietnam changed her future hopes and dreams forever, was engaged to Bill Seaborn. Sherry … who’s own precious helicopter pilot had given “the full measure of devotion” and was killed 48 years ago when the helicopter he and my husband were flying was shot down over the jungles of Vietnam.

The three of us left St. Louis and drove to Edinburgh, Indiana to spend the night before driving the next day to West Virginia. The third morning we drove on into Washington, D.C. where we met and had lunch with some more precious friends, George and Patricia before heading to the ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

Richard and George … friends since high school! “Good food is all the sweeter when shared with good friends.”

After lunch we met Bill Seaborn’s sister, Beverly who had flown in from Florida to come to the dedication. We picked Beverly up at the hotel where she was staying and she, Sherry, Richard and I rode to Arlington National Cemetery together, parked, then rode on trams to the amphitheater at the Cemetery.

Richard, in somber contemplation looking from the tram at the grave sites of more than 400.000 that are buried in the Arlington National Cemetery.

Before the ceremony began, we were delighted to meet up with Bob and his wife, Paula. Sherry met Bob when he graduated from the same Flight School Class as Bill did before they both left for Vietnam. She had remained friends with Bob since that day. Richard and I, only the previous year, had met Bob at Bill’s Memorial.

We all sat together as the dedication began, united in love for Bill and honoring all the pilots and crews members who were killed in Vietnam.

Beverly and Bob seated in the amphitheater at the Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.

Opening ceremony …

“The Star Spangled Banner”

At the end of the dedication the Memorial Wreath was carried out to be placed next to the Vietnam monument while the bagpipes played “Amazing Grace.”

Bagpipes playing “Amazing Grace”

The Memorial Wreath next to the monument … “In honored memory of the helicopter pilots and crew members who gave the full measure of devotion to their nation in the Vietnam war.

Sherry (Bill Seaborn’s fiancee) Beverly (Bill’s sister) and Richard (Bill’s friend and co-pilot) standing by the monument. The Gold Star Members (any family member that lost a loved one in military service) were recognized and honored and Sherry and Beverly were each given a single long stem rose.

LEST WE FORGET WHAT MEMORIAL DAY IS ABOUT …

From my cottage to yours ~ Trenda