Veterans Day

The Columbarium

I know this post is little late since Monday was Veterans Day, but my day turned out to be very busy. Andrew had the day off, so we went out to enjoy the clear, cool fall day. There were several Veterans Day events in the Washington D.C. area, but here is what we decided to do.

Colonel Robert L. Prahl

Our first stop was to Arlington Cemetery. If you’ve never been to the Arlington Cemetery, you should go, especially on Veterans Day or Memorial Day. It’s really an experience. Even if you don’t have family or friends who were laid to rest here, you can really gain an appreciation of the number of people who have sacrificed for our country.

Arlington Cemetery was full of people on Monday. At the entrance, a Freedom Bell was set up for people to ring the bell to celebrate our veterans. I rang the bell and went on to the Columbarium. Thankfully there was a little computer where you could look up someone by name to find their site. With the help of the computer, we were able to find my grandparents.

The first time I went to the Arlington Cemetery was more than a decade ago, when my grandfather passed away. He was a Colonel for the U.S. Army and served around the world. We had a funeral with close family at the Arlington Cemetary and I remember it well. The soldiers who helped with the ceremony did a wonderful job honoring my grandfather’s life. He was placed in the Columbarium where my grandmother followed, five years later.

Col. Robert L. Prahl

I honestly don’t know much about my grandfather. I called my dad today to ask him a little more about what my grandfather did. My dad said he didn’t talk much about his work, but he did know Grandpa spent two years in Korea where he was awarded a bronze medal. He worked in administration, running the second in command depo and shutting down old depos after the war. The only reason he didn’t become General was because he didn’t want to. He didn’t want to deal with the politics involved. So, Grandpa Prahl retired and went to work for St. Mary’s where he developed a color coded file system to organize all incoming and outgoing supplies. His organization system remained in use until St. Mary’s began using computers.

He also stayed in Japan for two-to-three years, before my dad was born. There’s a story here on how my grandfather was presented a Japanese soldier’s katana. I don’t know the details, but the story goes that an old Japanese soldier walked straight up to my grandfather one day and presented his sword, which had been kept hidden from American soldiers. The sword hangs in parents’ house today. It’s still sharp too!

My dad had a great idea on how to learn more about what my grandfather did in the military. He suggested I contact the Army to see what information they may have on file about my grandfather. Some of my aunts and uncles may know more about him too. I think I’ll get started on my research soon.

Here’s to you, Grandpa, for serving our country and military.

Finding My Grandparents


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