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In Memory Only

Leslie Brown

I feel wholly inadequate and unworthy to share my thoughts about what I feel to be our most solemn of National holidays.

Like so many other holidays, Memorial Day has been “hijacked” by commercialism to appear on the surface as but a day off in which to have a “cook out”.

Today, let us meditate on our heroes who suffered in freezing conditions as did George Washington’s soldiers and our Korean Veterans, our Greatest Generation of whom there will never be another, and our Vietnam Veterans who suffered twice; the second time at the hands of twisted public opinion.

I have been blessed to be able to visit many of our nation’s great monuments including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, so I would at least like to share this transforming experience.

My parents got transferred to the D.C. area about fifteen years ago, and I was able to visit D.C. during one of their notoriously hot and sticky summers where the humidity from the Potomac River permeates about everything.

While sitting in quiet reverence on steps leading to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier with several fellow tourists, the time came for the changing of the guard. The guards are changed every hour on the hour in an elaborate ceremony for which the guards must train, prepare and study to make the “cut” to guard this nationally sacred ground.

As the ceremony began, I began to tear up and cry, and I had to beg a wrinkly, wadded up tissue from the purse of some random stranger lady.  I had no idea I would be so moved.

Arlington Cemetery is a field planted with sons, fathers, brothers, sisters, daughters, and mothers; watered with their blood. It has yielded forth our great nation which is still the best place on earth.  Let’s fight to make her good, so she will again be great.

Below, please take the time for some moving photos of the changing of the guard from the Washington Post.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/the-choreography-of-the-changing-of-the-guard/2011/05/26/AGtxemCH_gallery.html

 

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