The Cannons

We live less than five miles from Arlington National Cemetery, and every now then, usually between 6:30 am and 8 am, a booming pounding sound would reverberate through the house.  At first, we thought the sound was from the airport (3 miles from us) or some military super-secret jet (there’s lots of super-secret things in DC).

It took us a while to figure out that it was the ceremonial cannons being fired.  The 3rd US Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard), the unit that serves at memorial affairs and ceremonies and special events for the US Army, hold their training in the mornings.  During the hours before the cemetery opens so they don’t disturb the bereaved.

Oddly enough, the cannon sound would start off faint, distant before it thundered to our attention.  Hoever, I would know when they were coming because Butter would start to slink away down into the basement into her crate.  She was sensitive to loud sounds and barometric changes – storms and fireworks caused her unimaginable anxiety.  Her anxiety became yours.  There was no way you were going to get any sleep with a 110-pound lab trying to get underneath you to hide from the thunder.

The cannons fired this morning, thundering through the house.  They sounded louder, closer today. Maybe because the house is a little more empty; the sound bellows through the empty space where she should be.  Or maybe, because, I have a better appreciation for the importance of remembrance – the volleying of the cannons, the loud pounding and crashing boom, a crescendo of screaming sadness.


It’s been two weeks, and missing her still hurts.



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