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Out of the Blue

By Cynthia Thomas

U.S. Army Old Guard detail

We were gathered for this somber celebration. All dressed in our summer black and huddled together on a pavilion overlooking a sea of perfectly measured white headstones – strangely resembling the precision of a corn field.

“You can’t buy a spot here,” the strong, resonant voice was saying, “it must be earned.”

The blue sky - that just a moment ago was filled with songbirds – began turning grey. The priest held out his hands and chanted a prayer. A company of Old Guard soldiers, who had carried Col. (ret) Daniel Martin Theberge down the hill, stood sharply in the distance. A smaller section marched over to the hill where they would give the 21-gun salute and “Taps” began to fill the air - that soulful trumpet melody played on American military bases across the world as the flag is lowered every evening.

The skies darkened. A cold wind swirled. And then the Heavens opened – lightening, peals of thunder and great buckets of rain. God cried for those of us who couldn’t. And he kept crying, as the soldiers pulled their weapons to aim overhead, and shots rang out over those hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery.

We shifted from the edges and gathered closer together. Personal space shrank as we said our final goodbyes. Together. Family, friends, strangers and acquaintances – each who loved this man for his generous-hearted spirit who found a way to make each day better – came together.

This is the tribute that I hope Dan could see. The warmth of humans huddled in unity. Not similar, but the same. A common purpose. A common love. An uncommon man.

For your daughter and son, who may feel robbed of their father, I pray that their heavenly Father comforts them with the knowledge that their earthly father showed them a little glimpse of heaven.

And for Mary, his bride, may there never be a doubt in her soul that love is eternal. God’s promise to us in John 3:16 – is that whosoever believes in Jesus does not perish, but has life everlasting.

And for you and me, I hope that we find a way to make each day better. Rest in peace, Dan, knowing you sowed seeds of peace.


We can sow peace in many ways:

by a smile or a kind word, by caring and sharing, by compassion,

by demonstrating in our daily acts that life matters, that the Earth

matters, that we are committed to creating a safer and saner future.

For more ideas, go to


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