On Memorial Day weekend I usually find myself thinking about our many visits to Arlington National Cemetery. I've been there as a tourist and I've been there as a daughter. I've walked behind the horse drawn caisson and flinched as the guns were fired. I've stood beside my siblings and cried tears of pride and sadness as a flag was folded and handed to my mother. I've seen the changing of the guard and I've stood with hundreds more as the sentinel walks the walk at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
If you ever have the opportunity to visit Arlington, go. The ceremony at the Tomb is moving and something every American should see. And I would like to think that on Memorial Day we could put aside all political posturing and take a moment to honor and thank the men and women who have served our country...to honor especially those who have died defending our many freedoms. Freedoms which, incidentally, include our right as Americans to hold differing points of view. Not everyone in this world is so lucky.
There is something known as The Sentinel's Creed which the guards at the Tomb learn and live by and it goes like this-
My dedication to this sacred duty is total and wholehearted.
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.