Memorials and Musings

Washington DC is a beautiful city with a very colorful past.  There is so much history in this tiny stretch of land.  Espionage, intrigue, assassinations and assassination attempts, plots and policy all have happened here.  There is no place more thoroughly “American” than this.  On our private tour yesterday, Bill (from Private Tours of Washington) made a comment while we drove down Embassy Row, he said you know you’ve really made it when you become the ambassador for your country and move to the USA.  It’s what all ambassadors strive for.

When you are in DC it seems like there is constant movement and action but sitting on a quiet hill in Arlington Cemetery yesterday, taking photos, I felt a million miles away from everything.  It was peaceful.  It was poignant.  It was moving.  You could feel the tears of every wife and the sacrifice of every soldier in the earth beneath you.  It was as if the land itself was weeping in sorrow for the lives lost while joyfully shouting “your sacrifice is not forgotten”.

The rows of white marble are so profound and moving.

The rows of white marble are so profound and moving.  There are over 400,000 service men and women buried here.

The tomb of the unknown soldiers is a fitting memorial.  I find it a memorial not only to those buried there but to ALL our service men and women.  It says to them, “we care even if we can’t identify you”.  It’s got to be one of the only places I’ve ever been that everyone was asked to be silent and remain standing and it ACTUALLY HAPPENED!  It was such a beautiful and meaningful experience.

The service men who guard this memorial are truly amazing.

Tomb of the Unknowns with Washington DC in the background.

 

The service men who guard this memorial are truly amazing.

The service men who guard this memorial are truly amazing.

One thing DC does really well is memorials.  They are everywhere!  There is one for almost every war and every branch of the military.  It is crazy just how many there are but that it doesn’t get old seeing them.  They carefully choose sculptors and artists to make moving and fitting memorials to these people and events.

Each one invokes a new emotion in me.  The Pentagon Memorial (especially at night) brought back loads of memories of an awful day.  The Vietnam Memorial with its reflective surface forces a certain inner reflection of how we treat our veterans.  The World War II Memorial brings a feeling of American pride and the nostalgia of a bygone era.

Pentagon Memorial at night

Pentagon Memorial at night

 

I love the reflective surface of the Vietnam Memorial.

I love the reflective surface of the Vietnam Memorial.

 

A memorial for the nurses that served in Vietnam.

A memorial for the nurses that served in Vietnam.

While at Arlington, we saw an older gentleman dressed in his WWII uniform.  You could see the pride in his eyes when I asked to photograph him.  This was a man who fought for our freedoms.  He fought in a time when American pride was a REAL THING.  Liberty and Freedom really meant something to his generation, they weren’t just taken for granted as they are today.

This fine service man will hold a special place in my heart.

This fine service man will hold a special place in my heart.

After seeing all of these memorials, I am going to work a little harder on not taking my freedom and liberty for granted.  Way too many people in this world would love to have the freedoms that we feel entitled to.  At some point we are going to have to set aside that extreme entitlement and “political correctness” to get back to the basic values that this country was founded on.

Arlington Cemetery

Arlington Cemetery

 

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial

 

Washington Monument

Washington Monument

 

Peaceful, beautiful Arlington

Peaceful, beautiful Arlington

Comments

  1. Carolyn Johnston says:

    I could not agree more, Sarah. I think we all take for granted the sacrifices, so many sacrifices made by our soldiers and their families. Thank you for reminding me, with your thoughtful blog:)
    Carolyn

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