Missouri Bride Asks 92-Year-Old WWII Veteran Uncle to Be Her 'Something Blue': 'It Was So Special'
"It was so special to me!" Bill Lee Eblen, who served in the Marine Corps and later became a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, tells PEOPLE
Alison Ferrell had a very special “something blue” at her wedding on May 13 — her 92-year-old uncle!
Bill Lee Eblen, a WWII and Korean War veteran, came down the aisle of his beloved niece’s nuptials to attorney Matthew Ferrell at Old St. Vincent’s Church in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, carrying a sign that read, “I’m her something blue.”
Eblen, who lives at a nearby veterans home in Anna, Illinois, wore his Marine Corps uniform, complete with blue pants, as he was wheeled down the aisle in a wheelchair.
“It meant everything to me that he was there as my something blue,” Alison Ferrell, 30, tells PEOPLE. “I come from a family where we have great respect and admiration for those in the armed services, so having him there in his blues was perfect.”
“It was so special to me!” adds Eblen, who served in the Marine Corps and later became a sergeant in the U.S. Air Force.
Ferrell, a speech pathologist, says she asked her uncle if he’d be a part of her wedding from the moment she began planning the happy occasion.
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“I knew I wanted to honor him in a special way,” she explains. “We are a large, close-knit family and he has always been at every special moment in my life.
“So of course my wedding was no different.”
With help from neighbors and family members, Eblen was able to piece together an outfit resembling his original Marine blues.
“He looked great!” says Ferrell.
Ferrell met her husband 12 years ago at Southeast Missouri State University. The couple got engaged in September.
“We both come from families that have a lot of active service members and his grandfather fought in the war, so it was important to us to include Uncle Bill,” she explains.
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“You don’t ever forget your military experience,” says Eblen. “I just respect Alison’s decision to include me in her wedding, plus it was a lot of fun!”
Although Ferrell didn’t see her uncle come down the aisle (she walked after him), she peeked at him during the ceremony.
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“He was seated toward the front, so I looked at him a lot during the ceremony and we shared a few glances throughout the mass,” she says. “It brought me a tremendous amount of pride to see him sitting there in his blues. He touched so many people with his role in the wedding.
“It made me happy to see him happy.”
Ferrell often visits her uncle, who unfortunately has been in and out of hospitals with pneumonia.
“We enjoy each other’s company,” says Eblen. “And I plan on hanging up the pictures of me at the wedding in my home!”
“It just meant the world to me to have Uncle Bill with us for the wedding,” says Ferrell. “I’m going to cherish the moment forever.”