Sunday, May 27, 2007

Memorial Monday

During my D.C. visit, one of the most moving experiences was my trip to Arlington National Cemetery. As we celebrate this Memorial Day with our fancy grills, coolers full of beer and the blessed day off from the daily grind of our jobs, I realized that I will never again "see" this holiday in the same way. Even living with a Vietnam-era veteran on a daily basis has not made me appreciate the meaning of these holidays as much as walking through Arlington (sorry, Rog).

Believe it or not, witnessing the somber wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns brought me almost immediately to tears. Here, the Tomb Guards begin the ceremony:The Tomb sarcophagus is placed above the grave of a soldier from World War I. Three white marble slabs that are flush with the plaza mark the graves of unknown soldiers from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Advances in DNA techniques led to the identification of the Vietnam War Unknown. He was United States Force First Lieutenant Michael Joseph Blassie. Lieutenant Blassie's remains were returned to his family on Friday, July 10, 1998, and were buried in his hometown of St. Louis, Missouri, the following day. It has been decided that his former resting place on the plaza will remain vacant.I've often seen photographs of Arlington's rows of headstones. Similar to the one below, they only show a minute portion of the over 300,000 people buried there.While on a tour bus during my first visit to the cemetery, I shot some footage of the rows and rows of headstones. They seemed to go on forever. I couldn't figure out how to edit this video properly (neophytism), but approximately halfway through this clip, you will see what I mean about the vastness of the cemetery. Words cannot express my thanks to all those who have given so much in service to our country, as well as to those who continue to serve, every day.

8 comments:

Pamela said...

we went there when Amanda our youngest was 16. She was moved by the changing of the guard -- as were we.

The hubby and I were shaken to our core by the granite wall --- the Vietnam Memorial.

Humbling..... undeserving so many of us are of their sacrifice.

Matt-Man said...

Great Pics Tigger. We went there as well, very sobering indeed. Cheers!!

Kila said...

Thank you for sharing that.

Wow, so many headstones, all for us and our country.

Desert Songbird said...

Looking upon those rows and rows of uniform headstones is sobering, but the changing of the guard moved me to tears. The Vietnam War memorial had the most profound impact on me. I think I mentioned on your post about that, I started bawling the minute I saw it rising over the hill as I approached it.

melissa said...

Wow, Tigger. Very moving post.

The very nice man said...

Amen to that!

Tiggerlane said...

pamela - the Wall got me, too. I just started crying, and couldn't stop. Very emotional.

matt-man - cheers to you, as well! We all should be grateful, indeed.

kila - What's amazing is to think of how many OTHER national cemeteries there are...it boggles the mind and heart.

desert songbird - it IS moving - even more so than the WWII memorial. And I hear they added 3 more names over the last month.

melissa and erik - had to be something more poignant that "fluff" for the holiday - glad you enjoyed.

Matt said...

I live not far from Arlington Cemetary. It's a beautiful place to pass by when you're running/biking/kayaking....

but i know what you mean.