A rainy day at Arlington National Cemetery, 25 May 2017
Major Frances Darlington Lamberti, USAF was laid to rest in Section 12, Grave 5289.
I have attended a number of funerals over the years. I have been to Arlington National Cemetery a number of times over the years, for various reasons. My family and I buried Americus Lamberti (1917 – 2012), 2nd Lt, US Army, in 2013. This one was very different.
Because she was a Major, we had a Band, Escort, Caisson, Body Burial Team (6), Firing Party, and a Bugler. I am sure that my Aunt probably didn’t want all of this, but the United States Air Force honors their members.
There was a light rain when we started. The transfer from the car to the Caisson was our first stop.
The band was near by as the transfer was made.
In boot camp, I was in the US Coast Guard Band at Cape May, New Jersey, so I know what being in the band, playing in the rain is like, but certainly not at this sacred place.
Stop number 2. Transfer from the Caisson to the burial team for the burial. (note, the rain had stopped)
Lt Col John L Elliott Jr. Chaplain, USAF was the Chaplain for the service. The service was probably the way Aunt Fran would have wanted it. Short and to the point, with full honors. (sorry, no pictures)
We then took the remains to the burial plot, to put her with my Uncle Max, and her twin sons, Dwight Strode Lamberti, and Mark Darlington Lamberti (31 Jan 1967).
A special Thank You to Mary, our Arlington National Cemetery Representative who took all of the stress out of the day. We knew exactly what we needed to do, where and when.
And to Jean Anderegg, our Arlington Lady, representing the US Air Force.
There is a “rest of the story” here.
When I was much younger, and a Boy Scout, we learned how to fold the American Flag, I remember teaching younger scouts how to fold the Flag. That helped when I was in the Coast Guard, I have folded a couple of flags, but not the way it’s done in Arlington.
When I arrived, Mary took my Aunt’s Flag because she had to “refold it” the way the Air Force Burial Team wanted the flag folded. Interesting.
When Colonel Elliott greeted us, I asked about that. What I learned was that each Service has their own unique ceremony and flag folding routine. I did not know that.
This experience was very different for the other funerals and events I have had at Arlington. I have seen the bands and caissons before, but being 1/2 a car length behind the Burial Team is very different.
It was a honor for me, to be part of this ceremony to Honor my Aunt Fran (Frances), my mothers sister, with full United States Air Force Honors.
Thank you for your service. You are with your family in Our Nation’s Most Hallowed Ground.