The following was written by Kevin M. Hymel of Arlington National Cemetery. It was linked in yesterday’s Morning Notes but is republished this morning with permission. Cpl. Collart grew up in Arlington and graduated from Washington-Liberty High School.
Alexia Collart’s eyes filled with tears as she accepted the flag that had been draped over her son Marine Cpl. Spencer R. Collart’s casket. Her daughter Gweneth, sitting beside her, openly wept. Bart Collart, Cpl. Collart’s father, held back tears. The family’s grief spread to the crowd of more than 100 family and friends, who either dabbed their eyes or let the tears roll down their cheeks.
Twenty-one-year-old Cpl. Spencer died on Aug. 27, 2023, when the V-22 Osprey aircraft in which he was flying as the crew chief crashed in Australia during a training exercise. A month later, on Sept. 25, he was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery.
Cpl. Collart always wanted to serve his country. At age 14, he finished the sentence on a school assignment, “When I grow up, I will…” with “be in the military.” A field trip to the National Museum of the Marine Corps convinced him to join the Corps. “He excitedly told us these amazing stories he’d learned of heroic Marines who defended our country,” Alexia Collart reminisced. Bart Collart agreed, recalling, “He was gung ho about the Marines even before he met with the recruiter.” He added that survivors from the crash that took his son’s life told him that the crew’s quick thinking and actions saved the lives of 20 Marines inside the Osprey. “They told us it was a heroic act.” That’s part of the reason the Collarts buried their son at Arlington National Cemetery. “People told us he was a hero,” said Collart, “and deserves to be buried at Arlington Cemetery.”
At the service, Father Andrew Merrow, the director of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, sprinkled dirt on Collart’s casket as he said, “Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust.” He then led the crowd in the Lord’s Prayer.
The service included a flyover by four V-22 Osprey aircraft, the firing of three volleys and the sounding of Taps. Navy Chaplain (Cpt.) Steven Walker gave final remarks, telling the crowd that “Cpl. Spencer Collart, United States Marine Corps, takes his rightful place here, among the ranks of our nation’s heroes.”
Then, a handful of enlisted Marines and one sailor, who had served with Cpl. Collart as Osprey crew chiefs, approached the casket. They had been invited by the Collart family. One by one, they placed their own Aircrew Wings on the casket and then pounded them in with their fists. One Marine paused and tapped the casket twice, as if he was patting a friend on the shoulder to say everything was going to be okay. The sailor, openly weeping, calmly placed both her palms on the casket and left them there for a few seconds.
Collart’s parents and sister each placed a rose atop the casket. Once they were placed, Alexia Collart hugged her father as they cried together.
When it was over, extended family and friends gathered around the family to offer support. As people hugged and spoke, Mr. Collart walked over to his son’s casket and placed a hand on it as if to say goodbye one last time.
Good Friday evening, Arlington. Let’s take a look back at today’s stories and a look forward to tomorrow’s event calendar. 🕗 News recap The following articles were published earlier today…
There’s no official word on its website, but it looks like Bar Ivy in Clarendon may have closed permanently.
There’s persistence, and then there is Audrey Clement and her decade-plus effort to get elected to local office in Arlington. Clement talked with ARLnow editor Scott Brodbeck to talk about…
Makers Union, an upscale gastropub, is set to open its doors in Pentagon City next week, says Alex Brown, the restaurant’s director of operations. This opening marks the third Makers Union location in the D.C. Metropolitan area, following the debut of its Reston location three years ago and a recent opening at the Wharf in early October.
Children’s Weekday Program (CWP) is a non-profit preschool rooted in a play-based philosophy. We focus on developing a love of learning and exploration, cooperation, empathy, and independence.
Our caring and experienced educators create opportunities for children 16 months to 5 years old to play, learn, and grow in a nurturing environment of child-centered and developmentally appropriate experiences.
Initially established more than 50 years ago in South Arlington, CWP continues to be a lauded program in the Northern Virginia area. We are extremely proud to have been recognized as a Best Preschool in Northern Virginia Magazine for the last 4 years.
Located now in North Arlington at 2666 Military Road, CWP offers a part-time parents day out and preschool program with options to extend care both before and after school. We offer a supportive and inclusive school community for children and parents alike and welcome all families to join our school!
The Optimist Club of Arlington is holding its 77th annual Christmas tree sale!
This year, the tree sale will be held at the Knights of Columbus (5115 Little Falls Road). The lot opens for sales on November 24th. The Optimist Club is selling small and large trees ranging from tabletop size to 10 foot tall trees! Wreaths, garland, tree stands, and White House Christmas ornaments will also be for sale.
100% of all proceeds go towards helping Arlington County youth.
For more information, please visit the Arlington Optimists website at https://optimistclubofarlingtonva.org/.
Holiday Art Show featuring artists: Peter Fitzgerald, Claire Plante, Alanna Rivera, and Suzy Scollon. At the Barcroft Community House, 800 South Buchanan St., Arlington, VA. Dec. 8 from, 2 PM to 8 PM and Dec. 9 from 10 AM to
2023 Christmas Tree Sales Begin
Saturday, December 2
Get your holiday decorating off to the right start this year! We will be selling 150 Fraser firs, freshly cut and delivered from Sparta, North Carolina.