In the shadow of their legacies

Several times today, Memorial Day, my mind has drifted to one evening almost a year ago.

When you walk into Arlington National Cemetery, you walk in silence and with respect.

Both are requested, but the requests are easy to honor.

Words are hard to find when you walk among the graves of so many who gave their lives for your freedom.

It is hard to feel anything but respect when you realize you live every day of your life in the shadow of their legacies.

We took a trolley tour through the cemetery grounds.

The graves of famous soldiers like Medal of Honor winner Audie Murphy, who was one the most decorated soldiers in World War II, and others who rest there are highlighted.

Even today, when I looked back on the time I spent there, it proved difficult not to ascribe fame and honor to each person whose remains occupy a niche or a plot beneath one of those stones.

The stones seem to stretch forever in some places within the cemetery’s confines.

They just seemed to roll with the hills.

When I looked at them, I saw testaments to the bravery, honor and sacrifice which birthed and built this country.

I saw the names of people who gave all they could, or as Abraham Lincoln said, “the last full measure of devotion,” to protect it.

They paid the price of freedom in blood.

Their sacrifice, as well as the sacrifices of their comrades and families, has preserved America from the Revolution to today.

Their sacrifices of some memorialized there have also taken the United States to new heights beyond the boundaries of Earth.

I watched in reverent silence as the guard changed at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.

I still don’t have words for it, other than to say I believe everybody should see it at least once in their lifetime.

Memorial Day is set apart to remember those who laid down their lives so we can live free.

Remember them, today and every day.

This post is a response to Sue’s prompt, which is “shadow.”

3 Comments

  1. Casey; As a career soldier this post touched my heart. I have been in many national cemeteries as well as US overseas cemeteries. While on active duty i directed and trained individuals for burial details. I have heard enough Taps and seen enough folded flags to last me forever. When going through various cemeteries and reading the names of Vietnam vets who made the ultimate sacrifice I realize but by the grace of God that could be me. May we never forget the price for our freedom. May their sacrifice NEVER be forgotten.

  2. Wow, to have been there… chilling & heart-warming all at the same time for me just listening to you describe it. We must always remember the sacrifices indeed! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

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