By: AMANDA HICKEY
She was the “quintessential” Marine wife.
That’s one of the reasons retired Marine Major Jim Capers wants Dorothy Lee Capers next to him for eternity.
On Friday, Jim Capers will escort Dorothy Capers, who died from cancer June 28, 2003, and the couple’s son, Gary Capers, who died in 2003 due to appendicitis, to their final resting place — Arlington National Cemetery.
“At the appropriate time, I will be buried with them,” he said Monday.
Arlington National Cemetery Public Affairs Office Kaitlin Horst confirmed the Capers’ Friday burial.
Gary Capers’ coffin will be removed from the Coastal Carolina State Veterans Cemetery in Jacksonville Thursday to prepare for the journey.
“Normally this time of internment takes a while to get all of the preparations done,” Jim Capers said, crediting officials from Camp Lejeune and Congressman Walter Jones for making the ceremony happen. “I was told it might be a couple months but she died on the 28th of June and, I’m not sure when we made the request, they made it happen.”
Because of Jim Capers’ retired military status, the family is allowed to be buried together in the cemetery where more than 300,000 of America’s warriors and dependents are laid to rest.
“It gives (me) peace; it gives me some confidence that we’ll all be together. That’s what I asked, that we be buried together. We lived our lives together and sacrificed so much together that I guess it’s only fitting that I’ll see them again, I have to believe that,” he said.
According to the Arlington National Cemetery Web site, which Horst referred The Daily News to for information about Arlington burials, in order to be eligible for ground burial at Arlington National Cemetery, the deceased must be:
An active duty member of the Armed Forces, except those on active duty only for training.
A retired veteran.
A former member of the Armed Services who received a medal of honor, distinguished service cross, distinguished service medal, silver star or purple heart.
A former prisoner of war who served honorably and who died after November 30, 1993.
The spouse, widow, widower, minor child or permanently dependent child and certain unmarried adult children of any of the above eligible veterans.
Capers spent more than 20 years in the Marine Corps — nearly 11 years of which were spent away from his family — while his wife served alongside him as the “quintessential” Marine wife, he said.
“She was a civilian. She never carried a weapon in combat, but when I came home from the war she was the one that stood beside me and encouraged me and made life possible for me to go on after the war,” Capers said.
Jim and Dorothy Capers celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at Onslow Memorial Hospital a week before her death.
“All those deployments I made and all those lonely nights she endured and all those nights she never knew where she was and when I was shot up and banged up and all those months in Bethesda and she came and drove a-hundred-and-some miles to come and visit. When they said I wouldn’t walk again, she was the one who said I would walk again. … Those are things that I’m grateful for, I got the credit for it. … I always thought that if someone deserved (the credit), it was her,” he said.
CAPERS, GARY WAYNE
- DATE OF BIRTH: 01/16/1959
- DATE OF DEATH: 11/17/2003
- BURIED AT: SECTION B1 SITE 247
- COASTAL CAROLINA STATE VET. CEM.
- 110 MONTFORD POINT RD. JACKSONVILLE, NC 28540
- ADULT DEPENDENT SON OF CAPERS, JAMES Jr
- MAJ US MARINE CORPS
Michael Robert Patterson was born in Arlington and is the son of a former officer of the US Army. So it was no wonder that sooner or later his interests drew him to American history and especially to American military history. Many of his articles can be found on renowned portals like the New York Times, Washingtonpost or Wikipedia.
Reviewed by: Michael Howard