Our grandfather’s selected
the grass lands of Oklahoma. I suppose it was a place free from the
hurricanes of their southern homes that brought them here even before
statehood. The Civil War, of course, helped them make a decision to leave
the miseries of tumult and war scarred, land. If all of us put our self in
their place where we were having to watch soldiers destroy all we had worked
so hard to build, in that case, we can understand why they simply wanted
away from such a world. The war was supposed to have been over but in
reality it only established a covert kind of battle.
The quiet, seemingly safe
lands of Oklahoma would have been a refuge. I can never go up to the old
home place without feeling that same peacefulness my ancestors worked so
hard to achieve. Certainly it wasn’t a place of columned, Grecian structure
as in the old South but still, quiet-living was magnified to me all through
my childhood and early adulthood.
It was strange to watch the
military funeral of my brother, Arnold. The flags unfurled this day in the
wind of the planes were bright colored and red stripped on this same prairie
land in a cemetery largely donated to by his own kin. As a World War II
veteran who fought in the islands of Guam and Iwo Jima he was entitled to
I’ve read accounts of that
fighting written by veterans who found a diary of a Japanese officer.
Believe me, there was nothing romantic in those accounts. It was grisly
history that even I do not wish to remember having read. Red was an
appropriate color to tell of Arnold’s memories to remain with him for a
The irony of this cycle was a
bit strange to me. Ancestors who fled lands of the South because they hated
the remnants of war came to Oklahoma to once again work for their way of
life, only to have one of their son go into the bloodiest of conflicts.
However, their vision could not be over ridden by any pomp and circumstance.
The peacefulness of the prairie won through its grandeur and immense,
untamed beauty, and there is where Arnold rests, awaiting a resurrection.
View of the cemetery, October 18, 2006. The prairie grass was golden at
this time. The winds were not as strong as they could have been but the cold
seemed to cut right through our heavy coats. On the gate are the two words:
Foraker Cemetery. This is where family is buried and it truly is a lonely
but peaceful place.
Three of the Marines standing at ease, look closely to see the rifles in
hand. Two sergeants and a Staff Sergeant. Two sergeants going on
approximately six years. The Staff Sergeant would be a ten year man.
Bugler is a Staff Sergeant, ten years. There are no keys on the Bugle, which
is not a trumpet. He played flawlessly, clear and strong taps even against
the blowing of the winds around the tent.
The man in the foreground was a Master Sergeant who brought his men into the
tent out of the wind while they were waiting as Rodney, my
husband, suggested. The uniforms are no longer of wool and not as warm as
they were when he was in the Marines with the Korean War. However, the men
wore layers of clothing to compensate for this.
These men left the tent and positioned themselves in front while unfurling
the flag in readiness for the approaching cavalcade of cars arriving along
with the hearse.
Cavalcade of cars arriving, following the hearse.
This is an earlier shot of the Master Sergeant and a Veteran as they were
getting the flag ready to be unfurled.
The ceremony of the men
removing the flag from the casket, carefully folding into a triangle and
saluting the man holding it with the prolonged slow salute was a moving
gesture and brought tears to my eyes. I was proud of all my tall, good
looking nephews as they quietly supported their mother. They were unbending
in their control and didn't give in to grief, not once, while they comforted
her. One of my nephews commented that fifty three years of marriage was
going to cause a slow adjustment for his mother from losing her husband, my
brother, Arnold Henry Jones, who died October 14, 2006.