Before the 21 gun salute, folding of the flag and other honors associated with a military funeral, Linda Steelman, 67, of Marietta, watched her father's casket make the trip to Arlington National Cemetery in a vintage Packard car before continuing to his final resting place atop a horse drawn caisson.
She said the honor associated with burial there is significant.
"I think what's impressive is that it's for everybody (who served in the Armed Forces)," said Steelman, who is the pastor of the First Congregational United Church of Christ in Marietta.
Photo submitted by Linda Steelman
John and Jeanette Russ celebrated their 50th anniversary in a big way with family and lots of food; Linda Steelman said that at their wedding they had a small dessert and punch to celebrate because food was rationed.
When her parents, John and Jeannette Russ, died in October 2001 and late last year, respectively, Steelman was present at both burials in Arlington.
In addition to her parents, she's had an aunt, uncle and good friend buried there as well. Not only was she able to perform the services for her parents, she performed the one for her good friend.
"I have had three services there," Steelman said. "It's kind of cool to be able to say that."
She said her parents' story is nothing far out or exciting.
"It's not a hero thing," she said. "It's about ordinary folks."
Steelman said her parents met right after her father finished training for the U.S. Air Force in Washington D.C.
"(Mother) was going to nursing school when they met," she said. "(Dad) was at Bowling Field, he'd just come through the cadets; there was no Air Force Academy when he went in, there was a cadets program at Yale. They courted along the Reflecting Pool and all those things you see in the movies. They married on Oct. 4, 1942, which was also dad's birthday."
Her father served in both World War II and the Korean War.
Steelman said after her parents' wedding, they celebrated with a small pitcher of punch and small dessert because "everything was rationed," but said their 50th anniversary was complete with family and lots of food.
She said her parents lived in many different parts of the country and have diverse backgrounds.
"Mom was born in Columbia, S.C. and Dad was from Boyle City, Pa.," she said. "Both his parents were immigrants; his dad was from Greece and his mother from England."
Steelman said when her father left the service around 1955, he went to then-Bryant College, which is now Bryant University. He also got his master's degree from Xavier University.
"They had a unique program where you could earn a four-year degree in two years," she said. "All I remember for that two years is my father with an open book."
She said all this time her mother was working as a nurse in a hospital.
"(My father) turned down a really good opportunity to go to MIT," she said. "He took a job with North American Aviation in Columbus and (then later with) North American Rockwell. He retired then from North American Rockwell (in 1981) and just loved being a man who grew roses to please his wife."
Steelman said they lived in the Columbus area until they died, and said she found a picture of her parents that she loves.
"They're in tandem on a bicycle, with my mother wearing slacks and a smile for days," she said. "There's another picture of my mother my dad carried in his wallet, that until the day he died she didn't know he had. It's a picture of her graduating nursing school."
She said her parents, and her father in particular, were people that would do for others without passing along the knowledge it was them.
"He would find a need and fill it and people never knew who it was," she said. "That was a value: do things for people not for the recognition, but because it's the right thing to do; that's just my family."