One more article about the “Arlington Ladies,” and the quiet work that they do.
On a winter day when the rows and rows of white headstones were shrouded in a band of low-lying mist at Arlington National Cemetery, Jane Newman took her place in the white-gloved military honor guard. As the ashes of the latest fallen soldier arrived, she placed her hand over her heart in the civilian salute.
She didn’t know this soldier or the family that shuffled behind his urn, shoulders stooped in grief. As usual, she knew only his name, Keith E. Fiscus. His age, 26. His years of service in the Army, four, and the names of his next of kin. Yet when she went through the paperwork that morning, she felt a pang. He was one more soldier killed in Iraq.
When she was invited five years ago to become an Army Arlington Lady, Newman, the wife of a 30-year Army artillery officer and herself a retired Army nurse, was drawn to the group’s mission: No soldier is ever buried alone. Every fourth Tuesday of the month, she spends the day at Arlington, standing graveside, hand over heart, at up to six funerals a day.