Friday, June 22, 2007

God bless Irwin Cohen. He is the retired federal judge who has organized the drive to name the new library in Rockville the Rockville Memorial Library. Last night, with the help of the local American Legion Post, he brought together community members, veterans, friends, and at least two sets of parents to honor the fallen of Montgomery County, Maryland. They read the names, with a toll of a ship’s bell for each man (only men this time) named, all seven of them. The ceremony was held at twilight—a heavy rainstorm blew through just before we were to start at 8:30 but had lightened some by the time we actually started. The sun was setting on the longest day of sunlight of the year, and in the east we could see a gorgeous rainbow bending across the sky, a sign of promise. The ceremony was short—a color guard, the Pledge of Allegiance, a traditional prayer from the Post chaplain, the reading of the names, a one shot volley, and Taps.

We had debated with ourselves about coming because Thomas had really not liked attention, but in the end Richard and I went, despite the rain. We are so glad we did. It gave us a chance to talk with local reporters and tell them why this is important to us, to talk to the community members who had offered their support, to thank Irwin for his efforts, and to be with our fellow parents, because no matter how bereft we felt together, it was better to be together than apart.

After everyone had drifted on, Richard and Debbie and I went to the Five Guys that was on the edge of the library plaza to get something to drink. The man behind the counter asked what had been going on and we explained the entire thing: the library naming controversy and the fact that our son was among the fallen. I didn’t get this guy’s name, but he was retired recently from the Navy, having served aboard the U.S.S. Iowa during the late 80’s when a large explosion killed 47 of his fellow sailors. He knew why this memorial is important to us, and his younger colleague was absolutely supportive as well. It was kind of a nice moment of validation that we were not crazy to want to do this . . .


I had said that I was going to talk about Thomas’s personal effects and Christina this time. I might have to put that off . We are still dealing with the effects (Thomas was a bit of a clothes horse which means we have a closet full of his clothing in the basement of our house). We’ve got the stuff he had in Iraq and we have the things he left at Fort Lewis and we have the stuff he left with his friend David’s wife (including what appeared to be dirty laundry. Ewww). I'm going to have to write more on another day, I also have a lot of stuff!


At June 22, 2007 at 10:08:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Laurie said...

I am so glad to hear there was a ceremony and names read for the library. There is a reason to it all, and this history will show it. What a blessing. It sure was good that you and Richard went!


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