DC trip, Honor Ceremony
Went on a trip to DC last weekend. I went with 65 vets of WWII, Korea, Vietnam, I(raq, and Afganstan and 10 staff from the Asheville NC VAMC. We drove up in cars and trucks on Friday and gathered at Prince William Henry campgrounds in Quantico VA. The camp has a mess hall and dorms and unheated cabins. On Sat we made our way to DC and hit the Mall and the museums. About 5 pm we all met at he Vietnam memorial. I was asked to lead a ceremony of honor at the Wall. We all made our way down to the apex and we placed a shield on a bamboo tripod that we had made at camp the night before. The shield had large service ribbons of all our wars and a box with a hole on top that I made before the trip. The box was covered with a US flag. We formed a semi circle with rings of veterans at the apex and started the ceremony.The night before we had passed out small squares of paper for the vets to write names of fallen warriors on. At the ceremony we asked those with names to come forwaqrd and place the name in the box. When a name was placed and spoken we rang a bell and we all said "And we honor this man". Every vet had at least two names so the ceremony went on for about 20 minutes. Then the most amazing thing happened, bystanders started to join us and we welcomed them. There must have been 20 that joined us in this honor ceremony. We had sons come forward to honor their fathers, mothers to honor their sons, and the best was a little girl that came with her grandfathers name. The box was full and everyones heart was open and many tears flowed. It was beautiful. At the end I asked everyone to honor themselves and each other and we closed with a prayer. As we made our way up and out of the sacred place I thought of all the healing that had just happened and it was good.
The Native Peoples of the Americas gave tobacco to the world.