Friday, November 10, 2006

Wreath Laying Ceremony at Iwo Jima

I went to the wreath laying ceremony at Iwo Jima this morning. The ceremony was beautiful. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Hagee, and Senator John Warner, Chair of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, were the guests of honor. They both said very touching speeches.

In Senator Warner's speech, he was telling a story about when he was a Lt. in the Corps. The Commandant got word that Warner was an engineer and was familiar with heavy machinery and convoy's. Warner was floored because the Commandant personally asked him to move the pieces of the newly made Iwo Jima memorial from the storage rooms of Henderson Hall to Quantico. Then put it together at Quantico and convoy it over to where it stands today. The Commandant continued to yell at Warner that if there were any cracks, bumps, or broken pieces that Warner would hear directly from him. Now, years later as Senator, Warner was explaining proudly how he was able to recently sign off on a significant piece of legislation that will renew the memorial and refurbish and fix all the cracks that he made years before!

Later, they laid a wreath in honor of the 231st birthday of the Marine Corps and in honor of the fallen Marines who gave the ultimate sacrifice for their country. You can read part of the Commandant's speech in the post I wrote this morning.

The opening of the ceremony

The presentation of the colors

Senator Warner's speech

The wreath laying ceremony

Yes, I was wearing my Marine Wife t-shirt

I have to say, it was a little emotional for me. Not only was I directly faced with that pink elephant- the possiblity of the worst case scenario, with prayers and speeches and tears during the ceremony, but it brought back a lot of memories for me...

The Old Man was in the Honor Guard, stationed at the Marine Barracks 8th and I just last year. It would have been him doing this wreath laying ceremony if he was stateside. I was remembering how every time I went to see one of his ceremony's or parades either through the streets of DC for a holiday, at Iwo, or at the Barracks on Friday nights, the crowds and support from everyone cheering them on was incredible. Even though they were exactly the same everytime- with a few different guests of honor, I just loved to be able to watch the Old Man for a few hours. I couldn't help but have the biggest silly grin on my face as I bragged to anyone around me who would listen that my Marine was a part of it all.

I remember back in those days our biggest worries were being sure we were able to pick up his dress blues from the dry cleaner on time for his ceremonies or that he would get off early enough after his Friday night parades so we wouldn't be too late for whatever we had planned. This exact day last year, we were drinking margarita's at the apartment right about now and getting ready for the Marine Corps Ball later that night... It's amazing how things have changed so much since then. That seems so long ago.

The most special memory I have was that I was so proud and I remember thinking how some of those days were some of my proudest moments. Now, the Old Man is serving our country in Iraq and sacrificing everything he can to make sure we can all sleep well at home.

Just when I thought I couldn't be any more proud...

I love you Old Man. You're my favorite!!!


Anonymous said...

That must have been a wonderful thing to see. Wish we could have been there with you Anna.

Older Man Hancock

old man said...

sweetie....all i can say is that i too cherish those memories more than you can imagine! you made it all worth while knowing you were watching even if i couldn't see you. i know things have changed alot but always remember that we can always reflect on those memories and use that as a way to lift our spirits while we are apart. Just due time I will be home, we will resume life, and start making more memories together as a family. For now I can count on my ipod to see your smiling face anytime and in any clime or place! I love you Anna! STAY STRONG! I will be home soon!

Anonymous said...

That's so awesome you were able to be there at such a memorable event. Sounds like it really lifted your spirits. Love you.

Kim said...

That last comment was from me. I accidentally hit anonymous. Oopsie.