Yesterday was the second annual ceremony called "A Time of Remembrance". It is program of the White House Commission on Remembrance, which also encourages a moment of silence at 3:00pm local time on Memorial Day (May 28th this year) in honor the country's fallen. We were a little ambivalent about going. These events are tough anyway, and the opportunities for going wrong in such a ceremony are legion. In the end, Richard and I were the only ones from our family to go--as Anna and Maria both said, I get more out of these things than they do anyway. We kept threatening to bail if the weather got bad, but in the end the sun was shining and a nice breeze kept it from becoming unbearably hot.
As I noticed last year, though there were several thousand families present, they really did not speak to each other. This is one place where I wish they would say, "Please turn and greet your neighbor!" The brochures they sent spoke of all of these families being together, but it might work better if the organizers actually did something to facilitate some communication. I actually ended up stopping a family on the street who were obviously not from Washington DC (Texas and Louisiana) and asking them if they had lost their son. Yes, they had, his name was Chase, like my friend Laurie's son, he died in April of last year. We talked and exchanged e-mails and some thoughts about how things at this event might be improved, but above all we were glad to have connected with another family who understood.
But there were some real improvements over last year's presentation. The ceremony began with the flyover--last year's ended with the flyover and the plane was a trifle late--this year we didn't start until the plane had passed. And the names of all the fallen were displayed on an electronic crawl that went over the stage, rather than on what appeared to be slides last year.
It's a week later and I have just gotten back to this blog, but I did want to complete my thought. Today is actually Memorial Day and we will be going to Mass in the cemetery, Gate of Heaven, where Thomas is buried. I have a flag I found at Target for $.99, we'll find flowers I think. Perhaps I will write more later today if I can find a moment of peace and quiet, but I will start a new entry if I do.