Thursday, December 28, 2006

In the Shadow of the Pentagon

December 26th, 2006
It is a sea of white. Tombstones as far as your eye can see, broken up only by the perfectly manicured lawns inbetween and the occasional burst of color provided by a wreath, flag or boquet of flowers so lovingly placed in remeberance of happier times. Even before you enter the gates the reminder of the finality of life seems to grab hold and carry you to a place of reverent silence.

Just across the Potomac lies the lifeblood of the American dream - monuments of those who have and offices of those who continue to preserve our nation's freedom. It is only fitting that the Memorial Bridge linking one to the other originates in front of Lincoln's memorial one of the greatest visionairies of what America could be if all men were free, and ends with those who have died trying to preserve this vision. To the West is the historic Iwo Jima Memorial, to the East the Pentagon. Greatness lies before and beside this hallowed ground. This is truly a place of honor. This is Arlington Memorial Cemetery. This is where on December 26th, 2006 at 1:00pm in the afternoon we said our final goodbyes laid Lt. Jamin Buchanan Wilson to rest.

I think back to ten years ago when Jamin entered this place on his own power. We were tourists then. Respectful, grateful, and in awe of the cost of our liberty but rather numb to the true value of each of those blindingly white headstones. But Jamin learned to understand. While many would spend time lying on a beach somewhere Jamin would take the time to continue to visit these military cemetarys throughout his travels in Europe. He found a certain beauty in them. They were clean, organized, well kept, informative, honoring, massive in scope and in his eyes "one of the government's best use of money." We chose Arlington for this reason . . . Jamin would have loved it!

Once again the Air Force came through far beyond what we could have expected. We followed the hearse to the burial site in Section 66 near the corner of Arnold and McArthur drives. Waiting for us were 8 men in uniform to be the pallbearers. The precision with which they preformed their duty could only have been shown up by one man that I know. The American flag covered the casket of this most beloved brother of mine

Chaplain Black conducted the service and spoke to Jamin's extraordinary level of service through a letter as written by Jamin's commanding officer at Spangdahlem Air Base, Lt. Colonel Bennett. My Dad, Charlie, spoke to his talents, potential and humility. There was a 21 gun salute followed by the presentation of the flag to our family on behalf of President Bush. When the commemorative box was place in my parents hands and opened I think that we all nearly lost our breath. There were Jamin's medals of honor that his service to the nation had merited. A small representation of the kind of man he was but special nonetheless.

A final prayer was said and roses were placed on the casket by all those present. And so we said goodbye and left to let Jamin rest in peace with those whom have gone before him.

There are those buried alongside him that may have received more medals than he, fought in more battles, saved more people, or done more for the American democracy. But, they did all of this with a sense of honor, and integrity, giving the best that they were for the country they loved. And in this way Jamin is no different. Let us all cherish these attributes in respect of those who showed us how.

Our hope is that one day you too may be able to pay your respects to Jamin and the others who have given their lives for us.


Anonymous said...


You've done an amazing job with this site!! JB would be sooo proud of your prose and the professional quality!

Aunt Kathy

Laura said...

Molly, thank you so much for posting these photos. I'm so sad and have been realizing that I don't feel any closure in part because I'm not able to attend any of the services. The photos and this website are really helpful to that end. I agree with your aunt--amazing job. --Laura (Nickelson) Bartlett

Gwen said...

Dear Molly,
My name is Gwen Erlam, and my husband (Charles) and I are friends of Kirk and Dawn Wilson. We live in New Zealand, and I just wanted to say that your beautiful tribute to JB is being seen halfway around the world! Thank-you for this precious gift you give to all of us--a way to connect to the terrible loss to your family. God Bless you....

Charles, Gwen, Michelle, and Heather Erlam

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