Memorial Day Remembrance – A Salute to the VFW
As we celebrate Memorial Day, I wanted to share the words my sister, Susan Mullins wrote to the VFW post in York, PA:
On May 4, 2012 we brought our mom home to York, Pennsylvania for her final service in St. Mary’s Catholic Church. This had been her home for all her religious rites of passage during her 96 years. What was most powerful for us though was to see those 15 uniformed veterans waiting for Mom at attention as she arrived at old St. Mary’s Cemetery on the outskirts of town.
My brother, sister, aunt and I sat before Mom’s urn at the Reineberg family plot as the soldiers unfolded the flag and held it in position. Through the presentation of the colors, the firing of the rifles and the most moving and haunting playing of Taps. I was remembering a special conversation with Mom. It was 1978 and the WASP had just received full military recognition and their honorable discharges 34 years after they were disbanded. I asked Mom what was the most important thing to her about this recognition as she had always humbly said, “I just did my part”. Without a beat she answered, “Now I can have a military burial and a flag-draped casket.” As I looked at the flag and watched these wonderful veterans honor Mary Reineberg Burchard I thought, “Mama, this is what you’ve always wanted and it is beautiful.” The Air Force veteran, who so caringly presented the flag to our sister, moved everyone to tears with just his opening words, “On behalf of the President of the United States, the Secretary of the Air Force and a grateful Nation....” Yes, “a grateful Nation”. Our family is very grateful to the service of all these veterans to our country before and now through their efforts as the VFW York County Veteran Honor Guard. We know Mom was flying near us that day, happy and proud to see all her family and to be with her “brothers in service” on that hillside. Many thanks to all members of the VFW who continue to honor their departed comrades. It is a valuable gift to those veterans as they pass on and to their loved ones who are left behind.