As we walk outside, some stars are visible where the wispy clouds don't hide them. Orion sits on top of Eagle's Peak, the crescent moon shines over Mt. Herman.
We form up and crack a few jokes, crane our necks at the sky. But then the mood begins to change, and people quiet down. Seven men stand on Spirit Hill, silhouetted from behind. The Wing Commander calls "Present Arms." We raise our salutes in unison. Three shots from seven rifles echo eerily off the mountains.
A bugler near the chapel begins playing Taps, echoed by a bugler near the flagpole. At the last note, we drop our salutes and walk quietly back to our rooms.
They might shoot those guns for me someday. They might play that song for me. I wonder how my wife, my mother, my brother, my father would feel as they hear those solemn notes.
I pray they never have to hear them, but I thank God for those who have made that sacrifice.