Sunday, May 30, 2010

Some Gave All

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 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.


  1. Joyce, I was so moved when I visited the tomb of the unknown soldier! I agree with you, it is something that every American should see. Such a lovely ceremony! Tom was in Washington one year and visited Arlington over Memorial weekend and all the graves had a little American flag flying on them. He said that it was very breathtaking! I think of my sweet Dad on Memorial Day and the pride he still has from serving his country in World War 2. He loves to tell everyone his war stories. Have a great day. Love & blessings from NC!

  2. Joyce,

    I will be adding this to my bucket list of things I must do before I leave this world. How wonderful and honoring this post was and I thank you for the dedication your family has provided to secure our freedoms in this country!

    Love and Hugs ~ Kat

  3. I am sorry that you had to experiece that first hand. ((HUGS)) This is a beautiful post.
    Thank you.

  4. Seeing the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a must. It is amazing what those guys do day in and day out, no matter what the weather.

  5. Adding that to my list of things to do...

    "Tomb of the Unknown Soldier"

    It sounds hauntingly impressive.

  6. Thank you for sharing such a moving post.

  7. Hi Joyce,

    We've been there years ago and plan on taking the kids this summer. I am truly looking forward to going Arlington Cemetery to take it all in and share it with the children. You're right. It is a must see.

    Thank you so much for always sharing thoughtful posts about our country, our soldiers who are heroes that need to be recognized and remembered.

  8. Beautifully stated, as always. The Tomb is a very moving place. I think I'm due for another visit the next time I get to DC.

  9. Thank you for including that creed; I've never read it before.

  10. Thank you for this beautiful tribute! I am so thankful I had the opportunity to see The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and so many of the historical monuments in Washington DC.

  11. Beautiful post-thank you . . . I want to go someday.

  12. I can tell this is a very special day for your country. It´s always important to honor those who gave their lives for others. We celebrate this day on Nov. 25.
    Happy Memorial day!!

  13. It's one of my favorite things to witness when we visit DC, fills my heart every time. I'm so excited the Hubs and I will be visiting again this July and it's on the list.
    Of course those men in uniform aren't hard on the eyes either. :)
    Just sayin'

  14. I left a comment last night, but it messed up on me, so will try again. Now that we got that cleared up... lol. What a wonderful post from the heart. We went to Arlington last year when we were in DC, my first time. I could not walk around without wiping tears, I just cannot imagine how it would feel to really experience it. And I agree everyone should experience the Tomb of the Unknown. I enjoyed DC, there was so much history there! And it seems the older I get the more I enjoy learning about history... hmmmm enough said!
    until next time... nel

  15. A beautiful tribute, Joyce. I would love to go, someday.

  16. If there is any holy ground in our country, it's at Arlington. It's impossible to visit that place and not feel a deep sense of gratitude.