While on a trip to our nation’s capital recently, a Flowery Branch couple had the honor of placing a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery.


At honored rest in the tomb are the remains of a soldier from World War I, from World War ll, and the Korean War.  Until 1998, the remains of a Vietnam War veteran were there as well.  Then, DNA tests identified him as U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie.  His body was returned to his family for burial in his home town.

     Master Sergeant (Retired) Bennie McDonald and former Sergeant Margie McDonald spent a week in Washington as part of the membership of the Midwest Chapter of the Association of Former Intelligence Officers (AFIO).  Both served time in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.  Bennie, a Special Forces ‘Green Beret’, served two combat tours.  Margie served in two support unit roles – Psychological Operations and Civil Affairs.  Both of the McDonalds are also members of the Special Forces Association.  Members wear distinctive uniforms in their official capacities. 

     The McDonalds were chosen for the honor of placing the wreath by the president of the AFIO Chapter to which they belong, Lt. Col. (Retired) Angelo De-Liberti.  These two associations connected with their past military service played into their selection, other than just the fact that they were long term good friends with Col. De-Liberti.  “He called us and said we had been chosen to lay the wreath during the Chapter’s fall meeting in Washington”, they said.

     It was important to the AFIO Chapter president that those performing this honor be dressed uniformly.  However, since they are no longer currently active military personnel, the McDonalds were not authorized to wear their military uniforms on this occasion.

     In their tour of the Tomb of the Unknowns complex, the personnel on duty commented that they could not recall a husband and wife veteran couple having performed the wreath ceremony before.  So it is just possible they made a bit of history themselves in this historic city.