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Rocking horse people eat marshmallow pies © Robert Sommers 2017

Monday, December 30, 2013

A soldier's return


Edwin Ware, perhaps the last Civil War soldier that will ever receive a proper burial, was laid to rest at the Miramar National Cemetery this morning with full military honors. A small crowd of family, friends and the curious gathered, exactly eighty nine years and one day after Ware's death. Because the Union veteran had the temerity to take a Maidu Indian wife, he had been rejected and disowned by his family and chose to live the remainder of his days with the Maidu people and the woman he loved.


Ware joined the Union Army at the age of 19 In 1864. He belonged to Company I of the 2nd Cavalry Regiment of California. He mustered out a year after the end of the Civil War and became a farmer.

Private Ware has lain in an unmarked grave and was largely forgotten since his passing in 1924. He was recently reclaimed to history thanks to the great efforts of his great-granddaughter, an only child whose father, Mario Olivieri, an Air Force Colonel with a distinguished flying cross, was also buried along side his forebear today.


I watched as the horse drawn carriage carried his interred ashes down the hill at the front of the cortege. The carriage had the words Final Honor written on the side and the assembled faces were somber as befitting an occasion where the last Civil War soldier is laid to final rest.


A chaplain named Tom Helmantoler spoke a stirring invocation for the departed veteran. The Chaplain is part of the group Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War. His words were thoughtful, measured and full of respect. I was surprised but I myself had to suppress back a tear as he read a prayer for Ware.

 “May the soul and body of Private Ware rest in peace once and for all for all time.”


The color guard led a proper salute and a bugler fingered a plaintiff tune on the adjoining hillock. You could feel it on the wind, Private Ware is present and accounted for, Sir, and is ready to join his company.





1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Very nice piece Robert. Thank you for that.