Video Production Set to the Music of Aaron Copland's, "Quiet City" for Trumpet, English Horn and Strings, transcribed and performed by Paul Griffin. I was in The White House Color Guard for the funeral of John F Kennedy. (Video 1:42-1:50) I culled some news footage that I believe has often been overlooked in the major media when recalling that sad day in our nation's history. This is my small tribute to my fellow members of the armed forces who took part and served honorably.
Washington DC was a "Quiet City" while the shock of our president's assassination was upon us. Do you remember where you were? Most people can recall exactly where they were and what they were doing. It was one of those galvanizing moments in time.
I recall how quiet Washington, DC was while millions of mourners were absorbed in their own thoughts. The musical backing is my own orchestration and performance of Aaron Copland's, "Quiet City." Note the actual bugler, Sergeant Keith C. Clark performing taps at Arlington Cemetery...I was able to "crossfade" his performance in with my own. The pressure that he was under, with the "whole world watching" must have been incredible compared to the pressure that I felt in front of a microphone in a recording studio. I salute you!
Out of hundreds of thousands of active military service personnel, the Navy assumed the role of honor since JFK had also served in the Navy. Our small group had been further honored by having been selected for the color guard detail at The White House. We spent the next few days preparing for our role in the nation's mourning process by industriously detailing our uniforms: metal buttons, belt buckles, pins, ribbons and making certain that our shoes reflected hours of rigorous spit shining. Our daily drills on the parade ground took on an intensity that was palpable. The intervening hours were passed with never ending inspections; this was not the time to be the only nail in a room full of hammers. There are many stories from that day and I have been fortunate to have reflected upon them with my "band of brothers" and fellow "Cold Warriors!
Adapted from author: Nelson DeMille
"Our country is filled with monuments to the men and women of the armed forces who served and who gave their lives. There is a monument in Arlington to the Unknown Soldier who represents all of the unidentified dead. There are and have been parades and special days set aside for the armed forces. But, for the dead, disabled, and discharged veterans of the "secret war" there have been only private memorials in the lobbies or gardens of a few nonpublic buildings.
It is time to erect a public monument in the Mall; a tribute to the Cold Warriors who served and who got burned-out; whose marriages went to hell; who got shafted in bureaucratic shuffling and who died physically, mentally and sometimes spiritually. The exact nature of this monument escapes but it could be as a huge hole in the middle of the Mall, sort of a vortex, with a perpetual fog rising from the bottom, and if there is to be any inscription at all, it should read:
"Dedicated to the Cold Warriors, 1945-1989? THANKS."
This war ended, not with a bang, but with a whimper, and the transition from war to peace was mostly quiet and unremarked. There was no cohesiveness among the Cold Warriors, no sense of victory, no pomp and ceremony as divisions were deactivated; ships decommissioned; bomber squadrons put out into the desert. There was just a fading away; a piece of paper; maybe a check in the mail. In fact no one in Washington, nor anywhere, even said thank you."
Our returning armed forces bore the brunt and were the focus of protestors objecting to our nation's foreign policies. It was due to this domestic turmoil that when honorably discharged, many were "advised" to travel home in "civies." When they did finally resume their education or return to careers interupted, many were hesitant to disclose where they had been or what they had been doing for the previous four years.
Sad! Very Sad! They may have left their uniforms and their dignity behind... But they buried their pride deep inside where it could remain inviolate. The gratitude of our nation has yet to define the reality of our: "Cold Warriors."
Life has many itches...some should be scratched. Others? Not so much!
Audio/Video Editing & Production By:
Paul Griffin (USN) (1962-1966)
Naval School, Wash., DC
Anti Air-Anti Submarine Warfare School, Dam Neck, VA
Assigned: Commander Second Fleet-Staff
Serving: Admiral Kleber Masterson
Commanding: NATO "Strike Force Atlantic"
Task: Contain The Soviet Fleethttp://griffin-house.com/