KC5TPY, Danny, thank your for your tribute. Sorry it took so long for anyone to answer. Sentiments of such thankfulness are genuinely appreciated.
My wife and I spent several hours on Memorial Day at the Sacramento Valley National Cemetery, the newest cemetery in the national system for service members, current and former. It was a beautiful, sunny day and the cemetery was filled with visitors. We learned that wives can now be buried with their husbands. It was an interesting sensation as we walked around the grounds knowing my wife and I will both be resting there together some day.
Two memories stick out from the day. First, seeing families sitting around the grave of their loved one with tables, food, and umbrellas, spending the day with him or her. They were talking, laughing, and crying with the spirit of their service member or veteran watching over it all.
Second, my wife and I were wearing Navy ball caps. As we were respectfully looking at the vaults for cremated members a lovely silver-haired lady stepped up where we were standing and introduced us to her husband, a Navy veteran and corpsman, resting for eternity, nearing his one year anniversary of passing. She invested twenty minutes of her life sharing her memories of him, his time in the Navy, and her life since he started his watch for her to join him. She said she would be sharing the space with him when it was her time. I cried then. I'm crying now. Mrs Petersen, thank you for the gift of those minutes.
Fair winds and following seas.