I just witnessed one of the most beautiful sights one can see … thousands and thousands of headstones adorned with Christmas wreaths at Arlington National Cemetery. It does truly take your breath away … rows and rows and rows marked with the wreaths. Thank you to the many volunteers that take the time each year to make this wonderful gesture. I know it means a great deal to the family members and friends of those that are buried at Arlington National Cemetery.
I just returned from the cemetery to pay respects and to pass along on Christmas wishes to my father and Uncle Art, both of whom are interred in the columbarium at Arlington National Cemetery.
Every time I go to ANC, it reminds of the day, May 22, 2008, that my father was laid to rest. It also makes me thankful to the family members and friends that were there as well as the US Army for honoring a military member and his family in such a honorable and dignified manner.
When people ask me how I had the strength to deliver the eulogy at my father’s memorial service, I tell them I leaned on family and friends — where I received so much strength and support. I had other good friends who also had to deliver a eulogy at one of their parents’ service — they told me the same thing — to lean on your friends.
While delivering the eulogy, I quoted the line from one of my all-time favorite movies, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” which I saw again last night. I’ve been telling my friends for over 20 years that it’s one of my favorite movies because of the message it sends about family, friendship, helping others, doing things the right way, etc. I love quote in the book that was inscribed to George Bailey, “… remember no man is a failure who has friends.” And, his younger brother, Harry Bailey, toasted George as the “richest man in the town” due to his many friendships.
Well, that’s how I felt that day of my father’s memorial service. With the outpouring and support from so many family members and friends, I did indeed feel like the richest person in Washington, DC. I can’t thank my friends enough for the support they provided — it’s been almost three years since my father passed but the friendships remain just as strong if not even stronger.
So, on this Christmas morning, I just wanted to pass along this message of the gratitude to my family members and friends. And, I hope you too enjoy the power of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and also – if you get the chance – please stop by Arlington National Cemetery during Christmas time to see a sight that will truly make you grateful and will indeed take your breath away. Merry Christmas to all.