Last week my sister-in-law was buried at Arlington National Cemetery. She had retired as a Captain in the navy, so the ceremony befitting her rank was impressive with a horse-drawn caisson, a gun salute, folding the flag, its presentation to the family, etc.
At least, I am told it was impressive. I was not there. At a gathering to divide up her possessions, I was physically assaulted by a niece (a very big South Jersey girl) and I did not want to be the cause of another scene at the public ceremony. To be fair, I would not be able to resist a comment that would surely set her off again. She and her family are easy targets with hair-trigger tempers. I admit that combination does not bring out the best in me.
For myself, I would prefer cremation, but my sister-in-law, who was single, had long expressed her desire to be buried at Arlington, probably thinking that would be the simplest and cheapest way to go.
If that’s what she was thinking, boy, was she wrong!
First, she had a regular funeral service back in June in Orlando where she died. Then her body laid in storage for almost four months until a time slot opened up at Arlington. Then her body had to be shipped north.
But she is still not in the ground. They tell me they all left Arlington without the casket being lowered into the grave.
“Why not?” sez I.
“That was only the ceremony. The actual burial will be in a different area next week sometime.”
“With no one there?”
“Only the backhoe guy and his helper.”
Does all of this sound crazy to anyone else?