Decades After Tying the Knot, This Couple Finally Got to Walk Down the Aisle Together

Bill and Alice have been together for more than 50 years.

01-Decades-After-Tying-the-Knot,-This-Couple-Finally-Got-to-Walk-Down-the-Aisle-Together-WilliamCSmith01Reminisce Extra MagazineWorld War II was in full swing when I attended high school in 1944. A special program allowed students to leave school in April—two months early—if they enlisted in a branch of the military. This sounded like a good deal, so two buddies and I joined the Marine Corps.

I’d been going with my high school sweetheart, Alice, for four years by then. We knew  we would marry after the war ended, so we decided to tie the knot in May 1944 before I left for duty instead.

02-Decades-After-Tying-the-Knot,-This-Couple-Finally-Got-to-Walk-Down-the-Aisle-Together-WilliamCSmith02Reminisce Extra Magazine

We had a small ceremony in the minister’s parlor, witnessed by Alice’s cousin and one of my buddies. Being high school kids, we didn’t have the money for a big church wedding, but I’ve always regretted that my bride didn’t get the chance to walk down the aisle.

Not long after we were married, the Marines called  me up for active duty. After I served about two years in the Pacific, the war ended, and I returned home in June 1946 and found work. Alice and I bought a house in Cincinnati and raised our family of three children together.

[pullquote] I’ve always regretted that my bride didn’t get the chance to walk down the aisle. [/pullquote]

One of our daughters, Debbie, married and moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. After she’d lived there a few years, my wife and I traveled west to visit her in the early 1990s.

You can’t vacation in Colorado Springs without seeing the Garden of the Gods and Pikes Peak. But the place I will always remember is the Air Force Academy Cadet Chapel.

One afternoon, Debbie took us to admire the chapel. As we walked in, we heard beautiful organ music. There was no  one else in the chapel that day except a man playing the organ.

I headed upstairs toward the organist. He saw me, stopped playing and asked, “Can I help you, sir?”

I apologized for interrupting his playing and told him how Alice and I had never had a church wedding because we married quickly before I left for war. Then I asked him a favor.

“Can you play the wedding march for my wife and me?”

“Sure I can,” he said. “Go take your wife’s arm and go to the top of the aisle. Raise your hand when you are ready, and I will play the wedding march.”

03-Decades-After-Tying-the-Knot,-This-Couple-Finally-Got-to-Walk-Down-the-Aisle-Together-WilliamCSmith03Reminisce Extra MagazineDown we went, arm in arm. About halfway down the aisle I looked over at Alice and saw tears running down her cheeks.

After nearly 50 years, we finally got our wedding march! That kind organist made our day.

Originally Published in Reminisce Extra