Yesterday, Rick and I went to Arlington National Cemetery. It was bustling with people since it was Veteran's Day and this is the most famous veteran's grave site in the world as far as I know.
It's kind of strange ducking out of usual loud and busy streets of D.C. and disappear into a solemn, quiet place to honor America's greatest heroes.
I was happy to do so with Rick, who is a veteran of the U.S. Army.
Some of those buried in the cemetery were born as early as the 1820s (perhaps before but I didn't see any) and many of them served in multiple wars. Lots of graves included references to WWII and Vietnam or WWI and WWII or Vietnam and Korea. So many gave so much.
I saw many veterans walking or being pushed around the cemetery as well. I love how all the old vets wear their veterans hats. It's so touching to see them, near the end of their life, reflecting on their own service.
We also went to watch a Wreath Laying Ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Did you know that soldiers have been guarding the Tombe for 24 hours a day, 365 days a year regardless of the weather, since 1948? Yeah, that's absolutely amazing.
Yesterday's ceremony included two elderly veterans, one of whom seemed to have MS or another nerve disorder. When they played "Taps," I couldn't help but tear up a bit. Rick told me about when he used to have funeral detail and worked over 100 funerals for service members. I can't imagine how hard that must have been.
The day was just about as perfect as can be, weather wise. We were walking around in t - shirts watching the sun cast gorgeous shades over the fall leaves and beautiful landscape. Arlington winds around and up and down. At the tallest point you can see many of the Washington monuments in the distance, the city itself and large span of the gravesite, marked row after row with mini-white graves.
|L to R: Washington Monument, Capitol Building, Jefferson Memorial|
It was nice to take our time, reading the names on the graves, seeing where and when they served. It was especially neat for Rick, who could fill me in on what some of the symbols and words meant on certain grave sites.
There aren't that many Presidents buried in Arlington, but there is a famous site dedicated to the Kennedy's, who are. In addition, Thurgood Marshall and President William Howard Taft.
|JFK, Bobby Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy|
It was neat to hear many different languages being spoken as we walked. Clearly, people of many nationalities wanted to come pay their respects on this very important day.
I'm so glad I live this amazing city, where I can come and honor our fallen soldiers so easily, especially on Veteran's Day.
Rest In Peace.
Thank you for sacrifice, your service and your lives.
As Rick wrote:
I want to take the time to thank all the fine men and women for their military service past and present. You came from all walks of life and left the safety and security of your hometowns to embark on a journey and embrace an ideal that was bigger than self.
You are simply the best America has to offer and I want to thank you for your commitment, your sacrifices, and your love for America. You have always stepped up when called upon and selflessly defended America and her allies against the tyrants who have threatened liberty and freedom throughout the world.
Without your service we would not enjoy the freedoms we have today. Without your service America would be hollow nation.