The last time Raymond (Hap) Halloran was at Arlington National Cemetery, he had accompanied the body of his good friend, Colonel "Pappy" Boyington, from Fresno and then delivered the eulogy for the great Marine war hero. Almost 24 years later, on Nov. 18, 2011, Hap was also laid to rest with full military honors at our country's most hallowed ground.
On this cold fall day, on a hillock against a crystalline blue sky overlooking the nation's capital, several dozen soldiers in dress blues joined into casket team, escort platoon, military band, firing party and bugler.
Hap's urn was reverently transferred into the waiting caisson. Family and friends then processed silently for 400 yards behind the horse-drawn caisson, honor guards and band to the columbarium and grave-side service.
After a Catholic chaplain conducted a prayer service, a signal was given and from across a field the firing party and a lone bugler's chilling Taps saluted Hap's coming to rest.
Our nation's Army proudly organizes itself every day at Arlington to pay proper tribute to military men and women who have sacrificed much for their country. Hap Halloran joined their ranks on Nov. 18 and Hap's abiding attributes are contained in the cemetery's vision: "Where dignity and honor rest in solemn repose."
Go to tinyurl.com/Hap-193 for more about Hap Halloran.