Allison Ferrell wanted to honor her 92-year-old uncle, Bill Lee Eblen, in a special way on her wedding day. She ultimately decided to have him be her “something blue” by donning his Marine dress blues and actively taking part in the ceremony. He even carried a sign as he was wheeled down the aisle announcing his special role.
Ferrell, 30, spoke with ABC News about the decision, saying, “From the moment I got engaged, I knew I wanted to include my uncle Bill in a special way.” She went on to say, “I come from a family where we were taught to have the utmost respect and admiration for the armed services and honoring him as the ‘something blue’ just seemed like the natural choice.”
She approached her uncle with the idea while he was recovering from pneumonia in the hospital. Eblen considered the request a huge motivator as he managed his recovery.
Eblen said, “I immediately started doing more calisthenics, walking more instead of riding my little three-wheel bike.” He also spoke about the reaction of those monitoring his recovery, saying, “Then all the people around here were talking about, ‘You gotta get back in shape again. You’re laying around on your you-know-what too much.’”
When nurses spoke to Eblen about his goals for recovery, he’d tell them he wanted “to be her ‘something blue.’”
Ferrell said she “never doubted he would be there,” and, when the wedding day arrived, Eblen was ready to do his part in the ceremony.
He was pushed down the aisle in his wheelchair, carrying a sign that stated he was the bride’s “something blue.”
Speaking about the experience, Eblen said, “I felt elated and honored to be a part of [the wedding].”
While Eblen no longer had his uniform from World War II, the family was “able to piece together a semblance of the uniform” thanks to help from a neighbor of the bride’s parents.
“[The neighbor] was able to give us a loaner uniform,” said Ferrell. “We got him all dressed and put the medals and ribbons on him.”
She went on to say, “He’s a sergeant, but the uniform was not a sergeant uniform. It didn’t have the appropriate chevrons on it.”
While the uniform might not have been reflective of Eblen’s actual service, he didn’t mind, saying, “Just putting on that uniform again brought back a lot of great old memories.”