Wednesday, March 18, 2009


*This post doesn't even begin to explain how it feels to walk through Arlington. It is sacred ground. I hope reading this post makes you want to learn more about this amazing place. I felt so much gratitude as I walked through and took some time to read the names on the headstones. It was a very moving experience. My pics don't do it justice.
Today we were able to go to Arlington National Cemetery for the afternoon. This was a first for all of us, but it will certainly not be the last time. I cannot tell you the feelings I felt as we walked past countless graves, many with the inscription Unknown on the stone. It was such a sobering experience.

What a view of DC!
The thing we wanted to see most was the Tomb of the Unknowns. (On a side note, I learned it has never officially been named but that is one way to refer to it.) We were so fortunate as to see the last Guard change of the day. If you have never seen this, it alone is reason enough to visit Washington. I have spent a lot of time learning more about it this week but rather than fill this post with pages of facts, I would encourage you to do the same. (I wish I had done that before we went as I didn't understand all the symbolism or the relevance of what I was witnessing.) It was so interesting to read about the ceremony and the Sentinels. Next time I will be better prepared.

An interesting fact... The Tomb has been guarded 24/7 since 1937. 
Another fact... There are very strict requirements to become a member of the Honor Guard, even height restrictions. 80% of soldiers who try out do not make it.
Fact 3... Only 3 women have ever been members of the Honor Guard.

The Sentinel's Creed

My dedication to this sacred duty
is total and whole-hearted.
In the responsibility bestowed on me
never will I falter.
And with dignity and perseverance
my standard will remain perfection.
Through the years of diligence and praise
and the discomfort of the elements,
I will walk my tour in humble reverence
to the best of my ability.
It is he who commands the respect I protect,
his bravery that made us so proud.
Surrounded by well meaning crowds by day,
alone in the thoughtful peace of night,
this soldier will in honored glory rest
under my eternal vigilance.

Simon 1971

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