November 14, 2011

On the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month of the 11th year Lady Hiva and I were at the American Veterans Cemetery in honor of Veterans Day.  Each year the veterans are honored in a short ceremony.

We went early to volunteer, so we were able to watch all of the guests arrive. The Veterans, who are now older came in with escorts or holding onto each other for support. Maybe they learned to support each other during their time in the military. Their hats and vests designated them as veterans or else they would just look like any other grandparents. They sat ready for the ceremony to start, some hours before the scheduled time. As I walked around taking photos, I could not help but think of the stories each of them must be able to tell.

The military band played marching tunes as we all settled down. It was quite entertaining when the band played a marching rendition of Christmas songs, Disney’s Little Mermaid tunes, and finally Justin Bieber; Which goes to show you how popular he is here. Really, he is. A bit off topic, but just so you understand the respect he gets. One baby came in to work and his official first name was Prince Bieber and whenever I tell new people that my name is Dustin they will most often say, “Oh like Justin Bieber?” then proceed to do some Bieber-ish dance move or impress me with their knowledge of his lyrics…oh boy.

There were two parts of the ceremony that were memorable. One was watching a military officer walk with his son, who was dressed to be a military ‘man’ just like his dad. The other was when the reverend gave the invocation. He was a veteran himself and had to be wheeled to the podium. His words were full of patriotism and love of country. One line stuck out to me, “Dear Lord, we know that we have many trials and hardships before us, but we also know there is nothing we cannot accomplish with your help behind us.” How true and simple that phrase is. 

The American Ambassador gave his remarks and then a congressman from the Philippines. It was good to contemplate how each of these people in the seats, and those whose names are on the walls, gave their lives to help us live the lives we have today. The last part of the ceremony was the 21 gun salute and Taps being played by two trumpets placed on opposite sides of the memorial. It was moving. The silence lingered for several minutes after as if nobody wanted to ruin the moment of honor.

Then the band piped in with a fast paced marching version of Travie Macoy and Bruno Mars’ “I want to be a millionaire!” Hahaha..!  


  1. That's so cool! And look at how beautiful Hiva is! Miss and love you guys!