Monday, July 4, 2011

Today is a day to commemorate the liberty of the United States of America--Independence Day! But for me, another special anniversary will occur in 11 days. It will be the first anniversary of the Chapel Service and Graveside Committal and Honors at Arlington National Cemetery for my great-uncle and his fellow crew-members: a group who made the greatest sacrifice for their country during WWII.

How I ended up in Washington D.C. July 15th, 2010 is a long and amazing story. If you're a long-time follower of my personal blog, Seasons of Humility, then you might already be familiar with it. If you're not familiar with the story and you 'd like to learn more, I highly recommend you read this article: Seven WWII Airmen Buried at Arlington National Cemetery. Suffice it to say, my great-uncle (Private Robert L. Crane) and the crew he served with crashed en route to Burma delivering supplies during WWII, and the remains of the crash weren't discovered until almost 60 years later. Last year the remains were given a proper burial, and these brave men were given the honor they so rightfully deserved.

Because my dad is one of great-uncle Robert's oldest surviving relatives, he had the opportunity to go to Washington D.C. to see the service, and I was able to go with him! This was one of the most moving experiences of my life, and so today as we celebrate Independence Day, I'd like to honor the memory of all those who gave their lives for freedom by sharing some of what I saw:

(The following quotes and videos are taken from a couple of the blog posts I wrote in July 2010.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

"After we returned from seeing [some] great sights, we rested (well, technically I worked on stuff for this blog!), ate a group dinner at the hotel, and then we met to go to Murphy Funeral Home for the Visitation Service.

And wow--talk about moving! Hearing about the lives of those seven men, including my great uncle, was both wonderful and deeply touching. My great uncle was only in his early twenties when he died, and seeing him and some of the other members of his squadron in pictures was hard. He was so young!

But I do know this: they died for a noble cause. We were privileged to hear from a couple of the men who were part of the group my great uncle was bringing supplies to when the plane crashed. It brought me to tears to hear them say that my great uncle was on his way to help preserve lives when his own was lost. These were real men, loved and missed by their families, and honored by the country they served. And being reminded of the stories of these men encouraged me even more to write, because if it's God's will I want to share stories that will be real . . . stories that God can use in a real way.

This following video shows pictures of memorials that honor these great men and so many others who gave their all for those of us who don't appreciate their efforts nearly as much as we ought. How can we ever show enough gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price? How can we ever show enough gratitude to their loved ones who let them go? And how can we ever even come close to showing enough gratitude to God--who sent His own Son to die for us, offering us a chance to go home and truly be free?"


video

Thursday, July 15, 2010

"I have no words to tell you what the service at Arlington National Cemetery was like. Even now as I write this, tears are coming to my eyes. I put together another video to try and capture some of the experience, which I hope will convey even just a little of the emotion of this morning. The love, the service, and the honor shown this day will never be forgotten."

video

4 comments :

  1. That's a lovely post. Thought provoking.

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  2. What a beautiful, moving tribute, Amber. Perfect for Independence Day. Thank you!

    I've been to Arlington and I, too, was stirred by the thoughts and images that overcame me as I walked the rows of pristine crosses. Several years ago, I even had the privilege of walking along the beaches of Normandy on the 50th anniversary of VE Day. How grateful I was to see the care which the American cemetery there receives, and the honor and silence which the visitors to the cemetery displayed. I came home with a much deeper appreciation for the freedom I enjoy, and which I celebrate with loved ones every Fourth of July.

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  3. Marybelle,

    Thank you for taking the time to read through it! :) I'm so glad that you found it thought-provoking. It was an unforgettable experience, for sure!

    ~Amber

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  4. Lisa,

    Thank YOU for giving me the chance to post about my experience here! :) And thank you for the sweet twitter about this post!

    There is definitely a powerful and moving atmosphere at Arlington, and I too was touched by the honor given to our military men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

    How amazing that you got to walk on the beaches of Normandy at that time! Sounds like you've had some pretty awe-inspiring experiences!

    ~Amber

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