I worked on November 10th. The photographer came that night. I just remember being aware of the days getting shorter though the weather was pretty pleasant as it had been the year before: there was the late autumn sunshine.
I think that Chris and Rusty arrived on the morning of the 11th (it took a little thought to remember that). Richard and I went to Mass that morning, and then to the cemetery--nothing happened particularly, I don't really remember the visit to the cemetery, just that we did it in the morning. Maria picked the boys up at Dulles and they both went to bed for the morning, planning their visit to the cemetery for the afternoon. When they got up, they put on the Class A's and those awful berets that Thomas had complained about so bitterly--he claimed it was almost supernatural, their ability to disappear. He described getting the beret stretched out into the right shape, finally fitting your head properly, you would set it down, pick it up and find it was someone else's! I never saw Thomas in the beret and I've never even seen a picture of him wearing it so if anyone out there has one, please send it along.
Anyway, the boys put on their uniforms in preparation for their visit to the cemetery. I decided to not go back, but Richard did, Maria and Matthew and I think Anna too, all went with them. It was the first time Matthew had been back to the cemetery since the funeral. Later, Richard told me that they stood around the grave and Thomas's friends told stories about him, and also about things that happened after his death. They figured he was still looking out for them--a grenade that did not explode when it fell at the feet of his friend (apparently duds were very rare) particularly. I went off to Starbucks to drink coffee with Debbie while this was going on, somehow feeling that it would be better for everyone though why I thought this has now escaped me. It wasn't bad, just maybe I should have been there.
The rest of the weekend is kind of blurry. We took the boys out to dinner Friday and Saturday nights both because our kitchen was now torn up and not really usable for large scale cooking. The first night I think we took them to Harry's, a local restaurant/bar which was pretty close by (they closed earlier this year). We had celebrated Thomas's high school graduation there so there were some memories there. The dinner the second night was at a restaurant in downtown Silver Spring, an area that has been restored and rehabilitated in the last few years. Thomas left for the Army before the construction was finished, but when he was home that last July in 2004, we had all gone to the movies (Spiderman 2?) in the new cineplex that was now open in that block. So again, some memories.
In fact, almost everywhere I drive here, there is some memory of Thomas. When I drive down East Randolph Road, a daily occurrence, I picture him with his backpack trudging down the sidewalk from his incredibly distant bus stop, coming up from behind because I had to make a U-turn to get back to him on that road (half the time he would have stayed at school and not remembered to tell me so I was almost always late to picking him up, figuring he wouldn't be there anyway). Yes, I really do miss him every day.