Valued Memories

Valued Memories
I sit on the freshly cut green grass among many, thousands of stones.   The wind blows softly over my face bringing the sweet smell of the grass to my nose.   The sun is shining brightly today, casting shadows from the billowing trees and white stones all around me.   This is a different day from a little over a year ago, for today I celebrate my grandfather’s birthday with memories of love and laughter.
My grandfather, a large, burly man, but loving and   kind hearted passed away two years ago this coming October.   The last time I sat in this beautiful spot was on December 23, 2009, I was here to be witness to my grandfather’s burial at Arlington National Cemetery. The day was a snowy-white, bone chilling morning, but this day I felt somewhat numb to everything around me.
I listen quietly to the rumble of several drums in the background; I look up and notice the neatly dressed military band.   The decorated band begins to play military hymns as the quite crackling of snow is heard from the many feet of family and many friends walking silently toward the caisson as they present arms.   The clopping sound of horses hooves are heard from the casket team, the Chaplin and other military men present come to attention with a sharp snap, of a salute and then the casket is gently placed on a horse drawn carriage.  
The procession is a slow, crisp walk down Patton Drive. Walking gives me a glimpse to what is around me.   The stones marking the many men and women, who have served, blend in with the fresh, clean scent of the newly fallen white snow. We reach his final resting place.   The brown, smoothly polished casket is placed under the white canopy tent. The casket team secures the American flag, stretched out and level; centered and placed proudly over my grandfather.
  The low, caring voice of the Military Chaplin flows through my ears, as he honors us with a military service. This final message to the family brings tears to my already swollen, tear...