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The Funeral for Captain Kenny

Would like to share with you all a unique experience I recently had. While I
know it is way off topic, maybe the moderators will pardon me since it is
Memorial Day weekend. Besides -- I did talk to the USNA Midshipman about
Bob, WB4APR  (Sorry Bob but she did not know you) and the satellites the
Navy Academy built (She was familiar them!).

Allen Kenny

The Funeral for Captain Kenny

As a Captain in the Navy, I was accustomed to answering to the call "Captain
Kenny".  Earlier this week I attended the military funeral at Arlington
Cemetery for Captain Kenny.  It was not for me but for my cousin Captain
Christopher Kenny, US Army who was killed in an accident while on patrol in
Iraq last month.  I did not realize he had been promoted and was really
shocked at the Funeral Home when they announced "The service for Captain
Kenny."  I thought I was attending my own funeral.

But what a service it was with the following memorable images:
 As we were escorted from the church to Arlington Cemetery with an American
flag flying from the hearse, there was the runner stopped on the street
saying a prayer as we went by.  The fiancee of Christopher's Commanding
Officer, who had just flown in from Frankfort that morning, asking us for a
ride to Arlington.  After the service at the cemetery we dropped her at the
Metro - across from the Seabee Memorial - so she could catch her flight back
to Germany that afternoon.  Upon entering the cemetery, reading the
inscriptions on the headstones listing all the wars and conflicts where our
military have defended our freedom. The sight of the caisson with six black
horses, the honor guard, an armed platoon, and the US Army Band all standing
by waiting to accept and escort their fallen comrade - Captain Kenny. When
the procession stopped to transfer the casket to the caisson, the
realization we were on a hill just across from the Navy Annex where I had
spent many weeks serving on selection boards.   The precise and reverent
movements of the honor guard as they placed the casket on the caisson and
took their positions on each side.   After the small band played an old
hymn, the slow march of the band, the armed platoon, a lead rider, the six
horses pulling the caisson followed by the his wife, parents, and many
family and friends.  The loud roar of the 17-year Cicadas heard in the trees
above more rows of headstones as we slowly moved down the hills to the level
area where most of the Operation Iraq Freedom causalities are interned.
The words of consecration offered by the Chaplain and the priest. The
precise ceremonial folding of the flag by the honor guard and presentation
to Christopher's wife. A second flag, already folded and held motionless by
a member of the guard during the entire ceremony, being held against the
coffin before presentation to his parents. The honor guard member not moving
a muscle as a Cicada crawled on his neck. The echoing sound of taps, the
three volleys from the seven-man firing squad, and ending with the strains
of the piper's Amazing Grace.  The 15 new graves with temporary markers in
line with Christopher's waiting for their permanent headstones.  The group
of similar large head stones on the adjacent row all containing the
inscription "Helicopter Accident March 2003".  The Sergeant from the Honor
Guard saying "Its our honor to serve here" when I told him how impressed I
was with the ceremony.  The Irish Wake at the Old Town Charthouse Restaurant
provided by and well attended by Christopher's classmates from the Citadel.
The discussion with the young USNA Midshipman who had grown up next door to
Christopher as she looked forward to her Navy career when she graduates next
year. (I'll admit it! I gave her a Civil Engineer Corps sales pitch.)   The
young widow making plans to return to Germany - alone - to pack up her
household goods to begin a new life.

As my wife and I flew back to Atlanta that night, I kept hearing "The
service for Captain Kenny" over and over. I realized how proud I was of my
cousin and the all the other service members we are honoring this Memorial

Captain L. Allen Kenny
Civil Engineer Corps
US Navy Reserve (Retired)

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