Sunday, September 2, 2007

Respect... Honor... Better late than never...

Today was a great day filled with honor and respect. Today, I finally got my self over to the Arlington National Cemetery and paid my respects to LT Jack C Rittichier, USCG. The only Coast Guard MIA. LT Rittichier was lost when his aircraft, the Jolly Green 23, went down in South Vietnam on 09JUN1968. Read the full story here.
When I was a cadet at the academy I bought and wore his POW/MIA bracelet, and miraculously in 2002, the crash sight and his remains were found, and on 06OCT 2003, he was finally brought home and buried. I took the bracelet off at that time (as the tradition follows), but sadly I did not mail it to his family that year (as I should have done). And since I missed that event, I wanted to pay proper respect and go to the cemetery.
I've been to Arlington before and felt the honor and respect of what it represents, but today it was extra strong as I was proudly standing before a fellow "coastie", one who died for his country. It was an incredible reminder of what I believe in and what I want to live up to. I can not even describe in words how it felt and what it meant. I left the bracelet,with a note, on his tombstone, hopefully it finds Jack in good spirits. God Bless.

Thanks Doug for taking the pictures =)