Kate and I visited and toured Arlington Cemetery when we were in Washington D.C. It turned out to be a very sobering experience for both of us, one that turned into tears very quickly. There are tons of soldiers that have been laid to rest there, and before the took started, we were told that there were funerals that day so some areas were blocked off to visitors.
It so happened that during a moment of rest between one of the stops a woman sitting beside us talked about her husband passing around Easter and that her own trip to DC had been planned by both of them, yet she was the only one to go. She talked about finding a message rock and that it seemed like she was supposed to find it, as if it were a sign from her husband to enjoy life.
To further this, as we sat there, a small entourage of cars passed us, a funeral of a soldier. As it approached, everyone waiting for the bus stood and held their hands over their hearts in a final salute for this soldier and his family. And as they passed, the woman in the front vehicle saw us and broke down. Of course, I was crying before the vehicles got to us because I’m just sentimental. Kate broke down when the woman next to her who had just lost her husband choked up on her words as the hearse approached. Bah I’m tearing up just writing this.
This was the day after Independence day, our July 4th. It was certainly a reminder that life is precious, that on the whole, we are a great country, with people giving their lives to protect ours, every day, every hour, every minute, every second. Do we still have work to do? Of course. Because we are a nation of people, we will never be perfect, we will always have to work on our freedoms. But I have faith in who we are, what we stand for, and I pray for the families of the soldiers laid to rest here in Arlington.