I don’t know why I’m moved.  I’m not a big fan of war or the war machine, and I don’t like to fly.  And yet, there they are – those pesky tears.  I guess it’s their spirit that moves me – moves all of us in the crowd.

Air Force Memorial Sculpture near Arlington. Stunning.

In the crush of happy families people part and make way.  Their bodies, mostly, are frail.  But when you look in their eyes and see that spark you know you’re in the company of someone special.

The day is warm and sparkling.  Overcoats and scarves are quickly removed and abandoned.  The crowd swells; children run around, everyone has a camera.

Janet Reno arrives.  There is the Presentation of Colors and a flyover during the National Anthem.  After the Invocation we listen to a heartfelt speech and then the Reading of the Names.  Thirty-eight names.  Not a hundred.  Not a thousand.  Thirty-eight.  But those thirty-eight names ring out and each one is an unfinished chapter.  A horrible loss.

A wreath is laid and Taps begins.  We sing ‘God Bless America’ – if we can remember the words.  And then we file into our busses and drive away.

Tomorrow is the big day.  Rumor has it – and it’s only a rumor – that a certain Leader of the Free World might make an appearance.