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Donna's Journal
October 14, 2006, Arnold Jones, my Brother


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 the funeral.

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 lifetime.

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.


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