The ceremonies at the Presidio this morning were moving though solemn. The speech by George Bacon on the history of the cemetery and the duties involved in caring for the remains of the defenders of our nation were quite sobering. The theme of the day was the sixtieth anniversary of the start of the Korean War, today mostly forgotten. There were almost as many Americans killed in Korea in less than four years as in the ten plus years in Viet Nam. Although there was a standing crowd, only a thousand or so seats, one would hope for many times the attendance given the gratitude we share. Maybe next year we of the WNP could go en mass. The gift at the end was a cemetery tour by the esteemed ranger Rick Penn. He is a man of stories. A few months ago, he lectured to the San Francisco History Association on the Buffalo Soldiers, a rather obscure topic that had the historians on the edge of their seats. We ended the tour at the new Overlook with refreshments provided by the DAR.
To me, the most moving part of the entire ceremony was Noah Griffin reciting the Gettysburg address without notes. The words and the passion moved me greatly. A bit later in the program, he recited "The Young Dead Soldiers". Perhaps it's selfish of me, but, in addition to my feelings of gratitude and loss from those who died fighting for our country, I felt much gratitude for having a friend like Noah, a friend since the first or second grade at Lafayette Elementary School, and a friend forever.
For those of you who use Facebook, I've posted the program books from yesterday's memorial at the USS San Francisco and today's memorial at the Presidio.
And for all of you who have shared the stories of loved ones whose lives ended or were damaged because they heeded our nation's call, you have my gratitude. I hope to keep these memories and become a better person.