Anthony Atwood’s Inauguration Journal – Day 15
FRIDAY 16 – JAN09: Our preparations are complete. I have been issued a couple of MRE’s (Meals, Ready to Eat). They are bringing cots into our office spaces, where many folks will be camping out. In the line of duty I have to visit the Cathedral once more. I have been assigned an Army photographer and we go to assist the civilian PIC people and church people who are planning things.
Did I tell you about Father Vincent Capodanno, a Servant of God?
I learned about him in the summer of 2006 by accident. Historically he was a priest who volunteered to join the Navy during Vietnam. He was assigned to be Chaplain for a Marine Corps regiment. The good chaplain served in a lot of combat. On September 4, 1967, while saving lives on the battlefield, he was killed in action. The circumstances were such that he was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor, the United States’ highest decoration. That is not all. Since that time so many Marines have testified they have prayed to him, in memory, and been helped by it, that the Church has declared him a “Servant of God,” and opened a case for canonizing him a Saint.
Not many folks receive the Medal of Honor. Fewer still are Navy people. Chaplains? Only Callahan off USS Franklin in WWII. And being looked at for Sainthood? Zip. The Capodanno case is one of a kind. I picked up a church card about him by accident passing through the airport in Atlanta, and only learned the story little by little. For luck I brought the card with me and keep it in my security badge holder.
Late this day I had to go to the Navy Annex of the Pentagon to buy shoulder boards for my Bridge Coat. The lady at the uniform shop stayed late to help me. She gave me a cook’s tour of the Annex. Near the front doors a framed picture of Fr. Capodanno is on the wall. We go outside and stand on the steps. We are on high ground and the panorama is breathtaking: Right across the road is Arlington National Cemetery, row on row of headstones of thousands of our honored dead who rest here. Down at the foot of the hill is the Pentagon. Behind it is the river. Just beyond is Washington’s Monument and the Dome of the Capitol. She points out the section of the Pentagon wall that looks like all the rest of the building, except that it is a slightly lighter shade because it is the new construction. The moon is rising and it is cold enough your teeth chatter. It is simply breathtaking.