Reverting back to the memorial service for Comrade Roy L. Wiggins USMC Vietnam War HERO which was held at the Baldwin-Fairchild Funeral Home in Altamonte Springs Florida, which I helped plan and ultimately conduct the first week of December 2009, after which I wrote....for the FIRST time in my LIFE....a thank you letter to a funeral home.....because I was so impressed with the outstanding manner in which they handled Comrade Roy's service from the beginning all the way through to the burial of Roy's remains....which...for another FIRST time in my LIFE....because my wife and I were picked up at the Wiggins home that morning by Mr. Tim Hart, (a new found friend/ Comrade/ Brother) driver of the family limousine..... I was a witness to the complete burial of Comrade Roy's casket.
The excellent professional way they helped a very large group of grieving comrades and friends and family to cope with the tremendous loss we ALL experienced because in spite of the fact that Roy was diagnosed with cancer he was at one point in remission and we all thought he was going to get well but instead took a turn for the worse and died suddenly.
The two page letter of gratitude that I wrote the funeral home was well received as well as shared with other Baldwin-Fairchild funeral home directors and the end result of that came in the form of an invitation from Sally Kopke of the Baldwin-Fairchild Oviedo Chapel in Oviedo Florida addressed to: Chaplain Lyle Schmeiser, DAV Central Florida Chapter 16, Orlando Florida 32805.....On behalf of Baldwin-Fairchild Cemeteries, Funeral Homes & Crematory you are cordially invited to be our special guest(s) for our solemn and traditional Memorial Day Service 11:00AM, Monday May 31st @ Glen Haven Memorial Park, 2300 Temple Drive, Winter Park Florida 32789.
Upon the arrival of my wife and I we are invited into the main office building and in a room off to the side they had set up a "banquet" fit for the King and Queen of England.... compliments of the funeral home catered by Sam Walton's Club!!!
At the prescribed time...11:00am....we were escorted to and seated in the VIP tent....front row seating to witness an OUTSTANDING performance of DOZENS of ROTC Cadets, Boy Scouts, military personnel and various veterans organizations reenacting EVERYTHING from the Civil War all the way down to the present war on terrorists in Afghanistan.
A standing room only packed out crowd witnessed one of the most interesting, moving, emotionally charged, yet solemn and traditional memorial services I have EVER had the privilege of attending.
AWE-STRUCK.....Two things that stood out the most in my mind was when (1) the ROTC group re-enacted the...five US Marines and one US Navy Corpsman raising the Flag of the United States of America atop Mount Suribachi during the Battle of Iwo Jima during WW2...2/23/1945...
(An ironic fact: Those six HEROES on Iwo Jima(1945) were not very much older than the ROTC' youths who were reenacting their brave action...Memorial Day 2010)!!! (2) The POW-MIA Honor Guard paying tribute to America's MANY Prisoners Of War and Missing In Action from all wars. As each war was introduced they gave the ASTOUNDING numbers still unaccounted for from each war beginning with World War Two on down to the present, the Gulf War on terrorists.
Tribute To Veterans---Veteran Unit Wreath Laying----As the names of the various organizations were read a representative was permitted to come forward to place a bouquet of roses on the Memorial Table.....what a genuine exhilarating moment it was when Emcee Bud Hedinger announced; Disabled American Veterans Central Florida Chapter 16....and I stepped out smartly...PROUDLY...to represent an organization which I have been a Life Member for twenty five (25) years (in three states, Colorado, Montana and Florida)!!!
What an HONOR, what a PRIVILEGE it is to serve...service to mankind....Veterans Helping Veterans!!!
God Bless America and God Bless all who read this letter!!!
Lyle Schmeiser, Chaplain
Disabled American Veterans
Central Florida Chapter 16 (2004-2011)