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Bull Run Civil War Round Table’s Visionary Leader and Friend John McAnaw (September 11, 1935 – July 7, 2018) Interred at Arlington National Cemetery

On December 5, 2018, our friend, mentor and past president, John Patrick McAnaw, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Retired, was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. The interment ceremony was conducted with full military honors, including a horse drawn caisson, a platoon of infantry, a band, a flag detail and a firing squad.

A number of members of the Round Table were in attendance, including Jim Lewis, Bob Eldridge, John Pearson, Victoria Kennedy, Pat McGinty, Dan Patterson, Janet Greentree, Brian McEnany, John Depue, Ed Wenzel, Alan Day, Nancy Anwyll, Gwen Wyttenbach, Blake Myers, Kim Brace, Charlie Balch and Tim Duskin. More than 30 McAnaw family members from 11 states attended the ceremony. Members of Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) Post 8469 were present, as were members of American Legion Post 177 and the Ancient Order of Hibernians, all organizations in which John was an active member and served as president and/or historian. The afternoon weather was a near-perfect December day – clear, sunny skies and no wind or precipitation. There were somewhere between 60 and 80 people in attendance that day.

We gathered first in the Arlington Cemetery Administration Center to meet the family members in attendance and for a few photographs. At the appointed time we moved back to our cars and followed the hearse into the cemetery to the transfer point where the coffin was transferred from the hearse onto the caisson. Our line of cars then followed the Army’s honor guard, platoon of soldiers, band, and horse-drawn caisson escorted by a detachment of soldiers to Section 12-A and John’s gravesite. The casket was transferred from the caisson to the gravesite, and we all gathered close by under the brilliant afternoon sunshine. It was quiet, with only the occasional sound of aircraft taking off from National Airport encroaching on the silence as the Army Chaplain spoke of John’s many military accomplishments and the military honors that his service and accomplishments had earned. After a priest’s prayer over the casket, honors were rendered, followed by three, sharp, seven-rifle volleys and Taps echoing across the cemetery - - a fallen soldier’s final honor. The detachment of soldiers then conducted a ceremonial folding of the American flag that covered John’s casket, and the detachment commander presented the flag to John’ s wife, Mary, on behalf of a grateful Nation.

Following the interment ceremony, the McAnaw family hosted a reception and buffet dinner at The Patton Club on Fort Myer. The reception room included two display tables covered with photographs, documents, awards, and mementos of John’s life. We enjoyed a slide show of photographs reflecting John’s life from a youngster growing up in Cincinnati, his early years in the Army, as a young Captain meeting and marrying Mary, raising a family, moving about the country, flying off war in Vietnam where he received multiple awards for valor, and his post-military retirement years in Fairfax County, Virginia. We enjoyed a wonderful meal, offered a toast to John, and listened as John’s daughter, Maire, spoke about growing up under John’s tutelage - -both funny and serious stories of what she learned from her dad. Blake followed with a eulogy honoring John’s life and accomplishments – covering his family life, military career, community involvement, and much of his history and historic preservation activities. John was well known in Fairfax and Prince William Counties and was honored on many occasions for his many works and advice provided to historical organizations and governing bodies. Other stories and memories of John were shared by members of John’s family and other friends and colleagues.

It was a wonderful afternoon and evening celebrating and honoring the life of a man whose good works were many, honored by a family who loved him and by many whom he mentored and called his friends. Be Thou at Peace, John Patrick McAnaw. We shall miss you!

Brian McEnany, Blake Myers

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