It is my distinct honor to present this report of the last stage of Sgt. Adam Plumondore's journey Home. I have felt the honor, as I met Adam's stalwart family, as well as officers, NCOs and men of the Army. I have also felt the aching heart that goes with saying a final adieu to a hero of our time.
Adam, you are home. Rest easy. The Nation of Riflemen guard your spirit and your memory now, and we take this duty for Eternity.
There were no dry eyes. I know what "flashbacks" are now. The depth of my regret for the loss of Adam stirred something here that I haven't felt before.
You see, Adam was my brother. My brother-in-arms. That means something, if you've been to war.
This service meant a great deal to a lot of people. Hundreds of them, maybe as many as 800 crowded a large church to say Goodbye. They were diverse, from dozens of his family, to Vietnam Veteran's Bikers, to World War Two vets, to mavens of local business and industry. Many of Adam's young friends came to see him Home, and politicians, too.
Oregon Governor Ted Kulongowski was there. He and I have nothing in common politically, but the Governor is a decent man. He came to say Goodbye to Adam. He addressed us on his loss, and I do believe that he felt that loss. He spent the day saying Goodbye, both at the church and at the Willamette National Cemetery, which also rests my father and will be my last resting place as well.
The service itself was long, but meaningful. Every phase of Adam's life was presented on the two giant-screen video systems in the church, all accompanied by the music of George Strait. There were plenty of pictures of Adam with hunting weapons, and many of those posed him with his game kills. There was no apology. Adam was a hunter and a sniper, and the service showed him that way. Several slides listed his sniper credits, which include a Third Place in an International Military Sniper meet.
Adam wanted to be a cop. He was planning on that career after his enlistment in the Army was up. Police agencies all over the region showed their gratitude to Adam, led in person by Sheriff Bernie Giusto of Multnomah County and Chief Carla Piluso of the Gresham PD. A large Honor Guard composed of Oregon State Police, the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office, and the Gresham Police Department guarded Adam during the activities. Their silent drill is very precise. I know some of them personally, and was able to thank them for their effort. The Motor Corps of the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, the Gresham Police Dept, and the Portland Police Bureau provided escort on the long trip from Gresham to the cemetery. At the Cemetery, the full Highland Guard, Pipe and Drum Corps of the Portland Police Bureau, some eight pipers and six drummers, played their doleful dirges.
The motorcade to Willamette National Cemetery was impressive. The escort force of a half-dozen police cruisers and ten motorcycles was augmented by most of the patrol forces of the East Portland area, as they stopped traffic for the mile-long funeral procession. Many of the officers held rigid attention and hand salutes as the procession trailed past. People came out of their shops and homes to stand, some at attention with hand over heart, in THEIR final salute to Adam.
The military interment is short and simple, but very emotional. I stood about five ranks behind the family in the little ceremony shelter. Both the Governor and Mrs. Plumondore shared audible grief as the Governor handed her the folded Oregon flag, and it got worse when the OIC of the ceremony handed the folded US Flag to her. The rifle volleys were exact , and then the lone bugler sounded Taps. He was a good bugler, and when he held the final quaver note of the call for 15 seconds, I lost it. I lost it again a minute later when one piper of the pipe band played Amazing Grace. I've spent over half my life ending military relationships to that music, but I wasn't prepared for it THIS time.
Adam's memorial wreath is still proudly on display at the cemetery, a silent guard from the Nation of Riflemen for Adam's spirit.
Adam's mom asked me to thank those in the NoR who have put the memory of her son into such fine focus.
My thanks go to Kim DuToit, who honored me by asking me to stand up for him and the Nation of Riflemen and snap the final salute to Adam.
Please enjoy my annotated photo album, listed under "Adam's Home" to the right.