Saturday, May 25, 2013

Memorial Day

A few years ago, I took my daughter to Arlington National Cemetery. Just outside the gate, our guide told us we were not to laugh or talk loudly. She said she only wanted to hear whispering and told the kids in the group not to run or skip. Then she made everyone who was chewing gum, throw it out. She said we were about to walk on sacred ground and we were to give the experience somberness and respect. She said that she knew we all wanted to see JFK's grave but we would linger there only a few minutes. We would spend most of our time with the soldiers, reading their names and the names of the wives who often joined them years later. What we thought was going to be a quick tour, turned into 5 hours, including the ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Back on the bus we were exhausted but nearly all of us turned and quietly watched the green knolls with the white crosses disappear through the rear window.  Our guide stood up and asked if we had learned anything. In the darkening stillness, we barely nodded. She didn't ask anymore questions.