It started as a conversation between Pa Commissioner Bill Irwin, Financial Secretary Sherrie Irwin, Mid Atlantic Veterans Affairs Officer Joe Irwin, and Mid Atlantic Commissioner Barb Edelman on how to involve more Association members and try to bring C.I.A. into national community affairs and involve more members in camaraderie. Ideas were brainstormed and what developed was the gathering in D.C. Edelman reached out to Tidewater Commissioner David Irvin and Co-vice Chair W. “Harry” Ervin, to get their take on the event.
While public law makes a wreath laying at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier available to all civic and Service Organizations, not everyone is selected. Working together, Edelman and Mid Atlantic members drafted a letter of request/intent sometime in Oct, 2012. April 6 was specifically selected to commemorate National Tartan Day. Then the wait.
When Edelman received the letter from the Cemetery Commission and Officers in Charge of Arlington spirits were raised, we had been accepted and our posting time was 12:15 on April 6. So the rest of the wheels went into motion. Like all the cogs in the wheel of a finely manufactured watch, everything started to come together.
Notices were published in the “Scottish Banner”, and the Scottish American Military Society “Patriot” followed by a pledge from the “Highlander” to publish photos of the event.
The wreath was designed with roses, holly and heather, hotel with a great rate at a close location was selected, and support was pledged from S.A.M.S. Post 2 in D.C. as well as the National Tartan Day Committee.( It was later found out that due to Mid-Atlantic efforts and the invites to all the Clans, and Military Organizations as well as the NTDC a festival was put in place in Old Town Alexandria for the day, and Clan Irwin Association was the honored Clan. This included a spot next to the stage, and an on stage signing of a Community Covenant.) The Wreath arrived in great shape (now beautiful thanks to Barb Edelman, Pat Lesky, Sherrie Irwin and Suzanne Layman’s efforts to add additional touches like the Tartan and more holly) By 12:00 the gallery was awash in tartan color as Clan Irwin Association took its place among the honored few selected to place a wreath. CIA members, some from as far away as Florida, Georgia, and the Carolinas took their place.
Guy, Sherrie, Harry, and Barb received final instructions from the Non-Commissioned Officer in charge, and the announcement was made in the declaration “Ladies and gentlemen you are about to witness an Army wreath laying ceremony, presented by Clan Irwin Association, please show the proper respect buy remaining silent and standing during the ceremony,” thus at 12:15 the ceremony began.
Following the Sgt’s instructions the four officers proceeded onto the plaza, somewhat nervous and wanting to adhere to protocol and offer the utmost respect to the heroes interred there. There were no falters, no missteps. Barb and Guy stepped forward and with assistance from the NCOIC watch commander placed the wreath. Then with Veterans saluting and the entire gallery with hands on hearts a tear rendering rendition of TAPS was sounded.
Thus Clan Irwin Association on April 6, 2013 at 12:15 did pay honor and tribute to heroes who gave their lives so we may enjoy the freedoms that we cherish. These deceased heroes who represent all of our countries deceased service members were paid honor and respect. And all were left to think on the words engrave on the tomb “HERE LIES IN HONORED GLORY AN AMERICAN SOLDIER KNOWN BUT TO GOD.”