Saturday, May 28, 2005

Arlington Ladies

This is an organization I'd never heard of before, but after reading their story in the American Spectator, I am in awe of their volunteer service. This group makes certain that someone attends every funeral at Arlington, and they stand ready to help the families of the fallen in any way that they can. They seek no "pat on the back", as one of them put it. A tiny part of this article, quoting one of the Arlington Ladies:

"What we do is always important and meaningful, but when you are alone at a funeral there is an added relevance," Willey said. "You feel an even greater need to be there, like you're helping to close the circle. For those grieving far away, a personal letter letting them know that someone was there can help soothe their sorrow. It shows them that their loved one's service was not forgotten and also that their loss has not been ignored."

The connection between the bereaved and an Arlington Lady does not end when the funeral is over, either.

"One of the first things I tell all my families is, 'I am your Arlington lady, not just now but forever, and you can always contact me,'" said Paula McKinley, the chair of the Navy Arlington Ladies. "It's a bond that is built to last."

This may sound like hyperbole, but consider the following: McKinley has placed roses on a grave for years at the request of a Navy widow and last summer on what would have been the couple's 50th anniversary she sent along 50 roses because it's what she imagined the husband would have done.

Read the whole article. I recommend having a box of Kleenex at hand...

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