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.