ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY, ARLINGTON, VIRGINIA - There are just a handful of things I can say ‘I am passionate about that’; it just takes a lot of work to put your heart into too many things. My God, my family, my mission, my country. Those are the tops, although to round out the list I would have to add ‘history’ as well. This weekend really is a fairly tidy wrap-up of just about all of those things. I KNOW you have no idea how I can link them all together, right? HA! Well, here we go. Keep your arms and legs inside the vehicle while on this ride, my friends, and please – no flash photography.
Arlington was supposed to be a tribute to George Washington at first. His relatives lived in the house (yes, including Robert E. Lee. That is one of those ironies that just tickles me). The house and grounds were appropriated in 1864 to become a military cemetery. There are a staggering number of incredibly brave Americans laid to rest in this location, and I’d love for you to learn more about it if you are interested. In 1929, President Hoover participated in the first Memorial Day event there, marking the first for our nation.
In the interest of full disclosure, I should let you know that my family is military. My dad, my brother, my brother-in-law, my cousins-in-law, my cousin; really, I can’t think of a branch of my family that hasn’t served our country. As a result, I have a healthy respect for people who serve. My children thank uniformed personnel when we see them at the zoo or in the park, and they all can sing the Marine Corps hymn and the National Anthem. And the Ray Charles version of America, just for kicks. I get angry when I hear stories of disrespect, and cry when I see faces of boys who have been lost while serving. This country, MY country, was established and continues to be the very best place on the planet. We have so much that we often times forget and ramble with inconsequential nit-picking – and what a blessing that is to have such freedom and free time. My grandpa (after leaving the country he loved to start over and make a better life) told me to read the Declarationand the Constitution and remember them. Remember that work, respect, honor and family are not rights; they are gifts. We are able to enjoy all of them here in America, he told me, but outside of our borders the world is very, very different.
So to all of you men and women who have done so much for us, thank you. Thank you 3-61 Cav, within your ranks is a family member who made it home – and I grieve for the families who can’t say the same. And to you, Kathryn George Frost, pictured above. She was a two-star general and was a well-respected individual. She stated that her military training gave her a keen advantage when she went on to fight her next battle. Sadly, she lost the last battle – it was against my old nemesis breast cancer. She’s resting at Arlington, too. Thank you, America, for letting me say things like this, and for allowing me to honor these people.