Sacred Grounds: Arlington National Cemetary
This post is dedicated to the wonderful capital of the USA and all the men and women who served our country heroically. I traveled here once when I was much younger and not as appreciative of the vibrant and wholesome city. Fast forward to the weekend of July 4th 2023. Ready to learn some history and explore the monuments we decided to go on the most patriotic of weekends. Our bags are packed and we're heading out.
My boyfriend and I were ready for some adventure so got up before the sun came up and started our road trip to the District of Columbia. We arrived just before 9:30 am at our first destination- Arlington National Cemetery. This was my first time here. The perfect landscaping is what fascinated me the most at first. Everything was pristine, not a thing out of place, or speck of garbage. It goes to show the people who work so hard to maintain these hallowed grounds care so much about this sacred cemetery. There is a sense of calmness when you first enter- a state of peace.
Upon entering the cemetery, the striking white headstones form rows upon rows, each representing a life devoted to service. The iconic Tomb of the Unknown Soldier stands as a poignant reminder of those who made the ultimate sacrifice, their identities forever lost but their legacy immortalized in the nation's heart. The Changing of the Guard ceremony at the tomb is a ritualistic display of honor and respect, a timeless tradition that speaks volumes about the devotion to duty.
I grew a deep fondness for the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I had done a little homework before coming to the cemetery so I could be as educated as possible. I studied the routine, the uniform, the ages and genders of the dedicated soldiers who have so proudly protected this tomb with great and profound honor. We arrived at the tomb in time for the Changing of the Guards. Its an emotional and beautiful experience. You can feel the respect they have for their country as they perform this sacred
ceremony. The air is still, the viewers are so quiet all you hear is the clicking of their shoes as they walk. Stoic and strong these soldiers show us the dedication it takes to be a tomb guard. 365 days a year 24 hours a day- rain or shine- they honor their fellow brothers and sisters who have not returned back home.
After the ceremony, we made it to the eternal flame of JFK. A wave of sadness came over both of us while we stood in front of JFK, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and their two sons JFK Jr and Patrick. Forever aglow, captures the essence of President Kennedy's unyielding spirit and his call to service. It represents not only the man himself but also the ideals he championed: hope, progress, and the unshakable belief in a better future.
As you wander through the meticulously maintained grounds, you'll encounter memorials dedicated to various conflicts, from World War II to the Global War on Terror. The Women in Military Service for America Memorial pays homage to the invaluable contributions of women in the armed forces, while the Space Shuttle Challenger Memorial commemorates those who perished in the tragic shuttle disaster.
Arlington National Cemetery isn't just a burial ground; it's a place of stories etched in stone, of sacrifices that have shaped the course of history. It's a place where visitors from around the world come to pay tribute, lay wreaths, and remember the selflessness that binds a nation together.