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June 26, 2007

A Pause To Remember, And A First Meeting

I'm so disgusted and dispirited by this immigration shamnesty sellout that i just can't even post about it; the folks at HotAir have got it much better covered than I ever could.

It seems appropriate to me at this time when our elected leaders are giving away this country to pause and remember those who risked everything to make us great. My Bride and I took Daughter to Washington, D.C. last week to do the museums/government buildings tour. On Wednesday we had a tour of the White House which was rather disappointing, as we could not access very much of it and there were no staff in any of the rooms to explain what little of it we were actually seeing; every ramshackle castle in Scotland provides at least that, for gosh sake.

Afterwards we took the wonderful DC Metro out to Arlington Cemetery to pay our respects and meet someone. It's an amazingly somber, sad and dignified place. It's also quite large, as there are some 300,000 glorious patriots buried there. The staff at the Visitor Center are exceedingly kind and helpful, and if you give them a name they will give you directions on how to find their plot. Unfortunately, due to its size the only real way to get around it on a hot summer day is via one of the trolley buses that loop around it, and, as Daughter pointed out, while the operators mean well they can't help but add a touch of a carnival/theme park atmosphere to a place that is deserving of our utmost respect and dignity.

On a bright sunny June day those markers of sacrifice burn into you, and humble you.

As we walked to our meeting one marker jumped out at me:

Bugler John Cook, Medal of Honor, Battle of Antietam. Then I looked at his birth date, and it hit me. The battle was September 17th, 1862. He was 15. 15.

My God.

A little farther on and it was finally time. Time to meet someone I'd heard about all my life, whose strong, warm picture graced the mantelpiece of the house I grew up in, whose influence and living memory shaped my and my siblings' life, but a man that none of us ever met, as he died the year after my parents' wedding while they were in Japan with the newly-born Tree Hugging Sister,

our Grandfather

I wish with all my heart that our first "hello" could have consisted of more than my tears on the grass.

Update: Sis scanned the photo

Posted by Mr. Bingley at June 26, 2007 11:06 PM


What a moving tribute, Bing.

Posted by: Cullen at June 27, 2007 06:24 AM

Grampie and Old Gramma.

Gorgeous, little brother.

Posted by: tree hugging sister at June 27, 2007 08:27 AM

Thanks for the lovely story, Mr. Bingley.

Posted by: The_Real_JeffS at June 27, 2007 09:39 AM

Semper Fi. That was a moving and dignified tribute, sir.

Posted by: nightfly at June 27, 2007 10:05 AM

That was beautiful. So glad you "found" your grandfather there.

Posted by: Kate P at June 27, 2007 10:08 AM

Your grandfather is in very fine company.

That's a great photo of Cook's stone, and his is some story. Thanks for posting about it.

Posted by: Brian Downey at June 27, 2007 10:14 AM

Just beautiful, man.

Posted by: Ken S, Fifth String on the Banjo of Life at June 27, 2007 10:33 AM

"John William Haggerty"

Known to his freinds as "Jack", I'm betting.

Semper Fi.

Posted by: mojo at June 27, 2007 03:06 PM