December 7th, 2010

Yesterday was December 7th.  As always there were rememberances of Pearl Harbor, though it seems that these are less every year.  I even heard a disturbing historical report about how we knew about the proposed attack ahead of time, but through a series of bureaucratic mistakes, the warning got there late. (Wikipedia version)

Philip Frederick Rising

The rememberance was a little more poignant for me due to attending a memorial service for a retired naval officer last week.  My mother-in-law (Sara) married Philip Frederick Rising last January.  I honestly did not know him well as they lived in Texas.  (His obituary and additional pictures can be found here.)  Becky and I attended the memorial service to support her mother.

Towards the end of the service, three naval officers displayed a U.S. Flag, ceremonially unfolding and folding it.  Taps was played.  The flag was presented to Sara by a naval officer in a formal dress white uniform.  After presenting the flag, he removed his glove and quietly gave his condolences while holding her hand.  I don’t know that anyone can observe the reverence with which this ceremony is performed without feeling the weight of the generations that have served and often died in the task of defending our Country.  After completing their duty, they slipped quietly from the Church.  I specifically went looking for them to thank them, but they had already left before the family was out of the Sanctuary.

I did not know Phil well, but he will be missed.  Hearing his family and friends share remembrances reinforced my impression that he was a good man.  But as with all things in life, there are constant new beginnings to counter the endings.  I have a new great nephew, Charles Eli Marquis, who was born yesterday weighing in at 9lb, 11oz!  Life goes on with all its highs and lows.

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