Friday, June 01, 2007

Memorial Day itself was quite a lovely day. We had decided to go to the Mass being held at Gate of Heaven Cemetery, something we did last year as well. On the first Memorial Day, we had been invited to a ceremony at a cemetery in Timonium, MD, which included speeches from veterans and the presentation of a plaque by Governor Ehrlich. We received an invitation the second year for this event as well but it's a longish trip for us and Richard's mother does not do well walking on grass so we did not go. No invitation this year, but I have no idea why--we have a different governor, but I believe this function is run by the cemetery's administration--maybe they just decide to leave the families alone after a while.

After Mass, we went to Thomas's grave on the other side of the cemetery. When we arrived, we found a young man kneeling next to the grave so we asked if he had been a friend of Thomas's. It's hard to know exactly how to open up a conversation like this (what if he was there for the person who had recently been buried in the next plot?) but he stood and introduced himself as Vince, a high school friend of Thomas's. Vince was there looking to fill in some blank spots about what had happened, and we were able to tell him some things, while he told us about having known Thomas in high school--apparently the cool kids were in the International Baccalaureate program whereas Vince had just done AP classes. Mind you, Vince is in graduate school in a highly technical field now so coolness must not have been quite as useful a division as the kids thought. We gave him our phone number and e-mail address so he could stay in touch (which he has done--thanks if you see this!).

It is interesting about Thomas: people don't seem to forget him. I can't add a picture of him today because I'm on the wrong computer but he was thin and blond with size 13 feet even though he was only about 5'9" and he was very funny. When we remember him, we remember him for each other.

4 Comments:

At June 1, 2007 at 5:47:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, speaking for myself, I never knew him, but now think of him often. Peace, Nicole from the NFP board.

 
At June 1, 2007 at 7:41:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I might have met him once if that in summer 2004. And yet, like Nicole, I think of him often. He just sort of sneaks up in my thoughts and I think about what he must have been like and how he has ultimately influenced so many people. Then I pray.

Jennifer, fellow NFP board member and friend of Lee Ann.

 
At June 2, 2007 at 12:08:00 PM PDT , Blogger Jason said...

I spent this past Memorial Day in training, but thought of him often that day, as I do every Memorial & Veterans Day since.

I've had others who I was closer to than Thomas die over there, but for some reason Thomas hits harder than the others. Part of it is because he was my first buddy not to come back, but I think it is also because there was a special purity & honesty about him. Most of us Army guys are dirty knuckle draggers, but he walked between the raindrops...

The world misses him...

 
At June 5, 2007 at 2:54:00 PM PDT , Anonymous Deb said...

"When we remember him, we remember him for each other." That's exactly right.

I've known him since the week he was born, but sometimes I think I know him better now than I did the week he went off to Iraq.

It's knowledge dearly bought ...

 

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