My first trip to Arlington National Cemetery was rushed by the group I was with attempting to see all of DC in the period of 7 hours, an unreasonable expectation. We were moving quickly through each row of uniform headstones until we reached JFK’s grave. I was so concerned with seeing the site that I didn’t really look around. We kept things moving and watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier before racing back to the entrance to just barely catch the last hop on hop off tour bus we purchased tickets for.
I appreciated that first trip because I was able to see how expansive the property truly was. One realizes the depth of history we share in seeing the thousands of individuals who answer a call to serve and lay down their lives in service of something they believe in. Those named and those whom have yet to be identified.
My second trip to Arlington National Cemetery was markedly different. I didn’t wait for the changing of the guard at the top of a hill. I was on my own this time, at a much more relaxed pace. I stopped at the JFK grave, less focused on the former president, and more cognizant of heavy granite memorial wall placards with his words overlooking a breathtaking view that leads to other areas of the National Mall.
It was on my way back to the entrance that I stopped at a bench to tie my shoe and quickly snap a photo with the boombox. I wanted to capture not what most tourists (including myself) usually arrive for in JFK’s memorial or The Changing of the Guard. Those are significant in their own respects. However, I wanted to highlight a mere few of the soldiers who are also buried at Arlington National. Their sacrifices realized by JFK’s own words of putting aside self and asking what they can do for their country. For our Country.
The record was a Presidential Memorial record pressed after Kennedy’s assassination. The album highlights parts of his term as President and narrates between news clips that describe the challenges he faced while in office.
I wont drag on too much this week, but I hope that you too find time to realize the depth and brevity of sacrifices made as you celebrate a 3 day weekend.