Words by Scott B. Ruete, USCG Retired, Arlington Project Chairman
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NAFCA’s first artifact came from a project fence job we did at Arlington National Cemetery (ANC) in April of 2012.
We were removing 600’ l/ft of 70-year-old, 6’ galvanized chain link fence from the right side of the ANC entrance. I had seen this large cut-off limb of a cherry tree the year before and decided that when we removed this section, something should be done with it.
We cut it out carefully and it sat in my garage for a few months. My wife said to do something with it or get rid of it, so I brought it in to our shop and our welder, Andrew, and I decided to frame this out in aluminum. Then I thought about framing the whole thing out in cedar and putting an American flag behind it.
The two bronze medallions were given to me by the staff at ANC as well as the casings from a 21 gun salute from an actual funeral held at ANC. These were then installed by Andrew to finish the piece and the rest is history.
It is a very attractive piece that we bring to expos and other events as well as to each year’s annual Arlington Nation Cemetery service project. It draws a lot of interest and makes me very proud to explain how it became. It will be enjoyed by many for years to come.