Posted by: bree1972 | April 11, 2013

A Sentimental Journey 4/10/2013

Joe and Kay McInvale had been our neighbors at the lake – two doors down – since we moved here in 1996.  At first they were weekend neighbors, keeping their house in Albany, where they moved as the last stop in Commander McInvale’s  34-year Naval career.  Joe was a World War II veteran and served in the Pacific upon enlistment, as well as the Vietnam Conflict where he served aboard the USS America in the Sea of Japan.

They eventually made the transition to permanent neighbors, and we became close friends.  Joe was an engineer and could design and build ANYTHING.  He and Ted were all the time working on “projects” together, and as a retired registered nurse, Kay kept busy gardening and volunteering at the hospital in Albany.

When Mr. Joe’s health began to decline a couple of years ago, their four daughters suggested they both move into an assisted living home in Atlanta, where Donna, their oldest of four daughters, lives – and that is what they did.  Last fall, while we were still in Michigan, Mr. Joe passed away.

Donna and Kay still come down and spend time occasionally at the lake house, and this past weekend they were here.  They mentioned they were going to ride over to Andersonville National Cemetery, where Joe was buried in October with full military honors.  We invited ourselves along, and on Saturday morning we picked them up and made the short drive.

Andersonville National Cemetery was established to provide a permanent place of honor for those who died in military service to our country. The initial interments, beginning in February 1864, were those who died in the nearby prisoner of war camp.

A few years ago we visited Andersonville, and I wrote a story about the the Prisoner of War Museum there.

A few years ago I wrote a story about the the Prisoner of War Museum at Andersonville http://wp.me/pF9Ya-rX.  To see the rows and rows of grave markers is always a solemn moment.

Kay and Donna walk toward the section where Joe is interred.

Kay and Donna walk toward the section where Joe was laid to rest.

The headstone stands in a newer section of the cemetery, where grass cover hasn't been established.  After this summer's rain and hot weather, the grass will be green and lush.

The headstone stands in a newer section of the cemetery, where grass cover hasn’t been established. After this summer’s rain and hot weather, the grass will be green, lush, and perfectly manicured.

Kay told us that one day she will rest here also.  The graves for veterans whose spouses wish to be buried with them are dug deeper, and the spouses are buried above their loved one.

Kay told us that one day she will rest here also. The graves of veterans whose spouses wish to be buried with them are dug deeper, and the spouses are buried above their loved one.

Kay and Donna

Kay and Donna

Over 20,000 veterans now rest in this beautiful, peaceful national cemetery.

Over 20,000 veterans now rest in this lovely and peaceful national cemetery.

Visiting Andersonville always stirs so many emotions.  Despair for the thousands who died here in horrible conditions, but pride that such an ugly part of the South's history has now been transformed into a place of honor for our veterans.

Visiting Andersonville always stirs so many emotions – despair for the thousands who died here in horrible conditions, but pride that such an ugly part of the South’s history has now been transformed into a place of honor and tribute for our veterans.

Rest in peace, Mr. Joe.  You are missed.

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Responses

  1. A beautiful final resting place for an honorable soldier. God bless him for fighting for our freedom so I may write this without fear. God bless his wife for all the years she worried about his safety.

  2. Brenda,

    The blog made me somewhat sad, but also so proud of what all the veterans have done for America.

  3. Brenda,
    I shared your blog with mom today and have sent it on to other family members. Thank you for being such wonderful neighbors and caring friends for all of these years. The blog is beautiful and poignant, I shed grateful tears for the time we had with dad and for the sacrifices he made in service to his country.

    • Thank you, Donna. Please tell Kay the photos are on the way.

  4. Thank you Mr, Joe…R.I.P.

  5. Beautiful blog!!!
    I think it would be a fantastic experience to go Albany Ga

    • Thank you, Voges!


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