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Date Posted: Monday, July 10 2006, 03:02pm
Author: Bob Looney
Subject: The Gray's Awesome Weekend!
July 1st and 2nd: An Awesome Weekend for the Confederate Grays!
Gentlemen of the Grays:
For those of you who participated in the two events of July 1st and 2nd, I salute you. Your support and dedication was an excellent demonstration to the public of what the Order of Confederate Grays is all about. For those of you who failed to support and participate, I can only say that it was your loss!
The consistent turnout of Grays who faithfully support our events included the following members: Randy Arrick, Preston Furlow, Bob Looney, Ben Hatch, Tom MacDonough, David Dunn, Tom Bennett, and Paul Martin.
On Saturday, July 1st, we gathered at the Davis Funeral Chapel in North Richland Hills for the funeral service of our dear departed comrade, Pat Emmerett, who passed away earlier in the week. Many of Pat's close family showed up to honor him, as did the Grays listed above.
This funeral was a fresh new challenge for us. Since Pat was not a member of any church, there was no pastor there to conduct the funeral service. That duty fell upon us, Pat's fellow Grays. Needless to say, we rose to the occasion, and conducted a service honoring Pat. In addition to members of his family presenting eulogies, some Grays did likewise. Following that, we basically took over and created a very memorable ceremony in Pat's honor.
Pat's casket remained open the entire time. A 2nd National flag covered half of his casket during the ceremony, and we took turns as honor guards, standing at both ends of the casket. Periodically, we would relieve the honor guard, and replace them. Toward the end, we formed up at the entrance of the chapel and walked down the aisle, one at a time, to Pat's coffin. There we stood for a moment, then saluted slowly, did an about face, and marched slowly back to the entrance.
After the family members had finished their eulogies, Preston went up front and gave a wonderful dedication speech, honoring Pat. It was a fabulous spiritual farewell to our comrade. Pat's family was also very impressed and grateful for his eulogy. At the end, we slowly removed the large 2nd National Confederate flag from Pat's casket, folded it, and gave it to Preston. He, in turn, then presented the colors to Dusty, Pat's wife.
After the funeral service completed and Pat's family and friends went outside the chapel, we gathered up our rifles, which had been stacked by the entrance, and we marched around to the side of the chapel where everyone was standing. We then fired three volleys in our farewell to Pat. Pat's family was very impressed and extremely grateful for all that we did to help out with the funeral service for Pat. In my mind, no other Grays event had ever given me such a feeling of satisfaction. Considering that Pat was one of our comrades, it is not surprising.
Again, my thanks go out to those of us who supported our comrade Pat, as he marched away to God's campsite. For those of you who were not there, it was a major loss on your part.
On the following day, Sunday, July 2nd, the same loyal group of Grays headed up toward Wichita Falls, pulling up short at St. Jo, just west of Muenster.
Once we arrived in St. Jo, we made our way to the Mountain Park Cemetery to honor an incredible Confederate veteran, Capt. Julius V. Sheen. Captain Sheen's historical record is truly mind-boggling.
His military career began at the age of 9 at the Battle of New Orleans where he was the personal drummer boy for Gen. Andrew Jackson. Later on he fought with Jackson again in the Creek Indian war. His next major military event was with Sam Houston at the Battle of San Jacinto. But, this was just the beginning. Later on,in the late 1840s, he fought in the Mexican War!
When the War Between the States began, he was active once again. At he battle of Gettysburg, where he fought with Confederate cavalry, he was struck in the head by a shell fragment and left for dead. However, he regained consciousness and was placed in a hospital, where he eventually recovered. Following the war, he came to Texas where he farmed and raised a huge family. he married a second time at the age of 75; his wife was only 16! They had six children. Capt Sheen lived to the incredible age of 105!! His life story and his military career is still staggering.
At the gravemarker dedication, there was a large turnout, with many of those present being his descendents. The marker itself was the most beautiful marker we have seen at any marker dedication. It was shining marble, about four feet tall, and had his picture framed on it. His career was noted on both sides.
In addition to the large crowd of descendents, there were journalism reps from Oklahoma there, and two local Marines who showed up in dress uniform. After the family members had finished their portion of the marker dedication, they turned it over to the Grays to complete it. By the time we finished our portion of the dedication, they were absolutely awed by both our appearance and our performance.
We did our regular routine, which included walking up to the marker, saluting, slipping our OCG ribbons through the trigger guard of the old Enfield, in the ground, bayonet first, in front of the marker. We also uncovered and knelt at the marker, as Preston prayed over the grave of Capt. Sheen. We then stood, re-covered, and marched back into formation. Following our return, we turned and fired three excellent volleys...very loud and very accurate!
Following the closing prayer, we were besieged by the family and their friends, as they all wanted to pose with us for pictures. This took a fair amount of time, but it was our pleasure. Even the two Marines posed with us...Oooooooohhhhhrah!!!
After we took down our flags, removed our cooters, weapons, etc., we followed the locals into downtown St. Jo to the the local civic center, where we joined them in a very refreshing mixture of cold drinks and food. They all continued to visit with us and thank us, right up until we left the civic center and headed home.
Again, it was a long haul to get to St. Jo, but it was absolutely worth it. When the families surrounded us and started thanking us, and complimenting us, that long-distance drive to the event meant absolutely nothing!!!
Yes, it was a long and tiring weekend, and we covered a lot of ground. But, there was not one single Gray among us who would have traded places with anybody on that incredible weekend!!
For those of you who were in attendance and particpating at both events, God bless you all! We did our duty, not only to an incredible veteran, but to our own fellow Gray, Pat Emmerett, whose soul departed from the Grays and was heaven bound, where he is now serving in the ranks of the Lord.
My thanks to all of you for your participation!
God bless you!
Forward the colors!
Lt. Bob Looney
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