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.