The navy shaped my grandfather’s life. He was a retired navy officer when he died, so we held his funeral at Arlington National Cemetery. We were greeted at the gates of Fort Myer by armed guards. As my family and I drove through the base, we noted the display of guns and armaments. Outside the chapel stood an honor guard.
After the family service, Taps played while my grandfather’s ashes were put into a horse-drawn casket and we were escorted through the cemetery—the soldiers, the horse-drawn carriage, then the family. At the burial site an American flag was folded and presented to my grandmother, and the noise of a 21-gun salute made us jump.
There is an 80 percent chance that later in this century a megadrought will plague the American Southwest for decades, according to a study released by researchers at NASA and at Columbia and Cornell universities. The drought will be caused by reduced precipitation and changes in evaporation rates. The researchers say other factors, such as the El Niño weather pattern, could interrupt long periods of severe drought. The researchers say there is time to reduce the factors contributing to climate change (Washington Post, February 12).