Monday, March 19, 2012

Gregory Hamilton, RIP

Last Thursday, Richard and I went to a wake/visitation for Gregory Hamilton.  Gregory was a member of the Montgomery County Veterans' Commission when we started the campaign to get the Rockville Public Library renamed "Rockville Memorial Library."  He immediately took our side in this and remained a supporter to the end.  He had a local cable access program and recorded interviews (he did the interviewing) with the families who were involved to help people understand why we wanted our children and husbands memorialized this way.  When Veterans' Plaza was dedicated, he made sure that Native American vets were not forgotten:  their welfare was, I think, his primary concern. In this photo, Greg is on the far right, wearing the POW/MIA symbol.  He organized much of the ceremonial part of the dedication that day.  It was lovely.

The wake was full of his friends and family.  Members of Rolling Thunder were standing watch, while others chatted.  There was music:  a drum and flute.  The casket was open and Greg was dressed in, I think, deerskin and moccasins.  The lining was patterned after Native American blankets.  It was beautiful.  His wife was seated in front, greeting those who had come to pay their respects--I found myself crying even though I hadn't known him very well.  All I can say is that I found him a joyous and welcoming presence every time we met.

As Richard and I left, we ran into two of the other Commission members who had supported the library name change, who reminded us that Greg had been a Vietnam vet:  the funeral home is next door to Our Lady of Vietnam Catholic church.  They also asked if coming to the wake was difficult because of Thomas.  The answer is no:  this reminded me more of other Vietnam vets that I know and left me a little sad for them. has many more pictures of the Veterans Plaza dedication.


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