Monday, May 26, 2008


My grandfathers were both disabled at a young age and were never in the military. My father was in the Massachusetts Army National Guard. He was on active duty during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. He was stationed at Fort Bragg NC for a year, while Mom was at home in MA with 3 babies under 4 years old. My husband and brothers were too young to go to VietNam.

The day my son turned 21 and had to register was an unhappy day for me. I feared a draft to round up more troops to send to Iraq. A few of his fellow grads from the class of 2003 have gone and all have returned home safely.

I visited Arlington National Cemetary in April. You can feel how sacred this place is, as soon as you enter the Visitor Center and look at the pictures on the walls.

I never knew how big Arlington was or how many are buried there.

I was amazed at the number of graves from the Civil War. I had thought most soldiers had been buried at the battlefields where they died.
I was in Grade 1 when JFK was assassinated and the nuns cried and sent us home. We sat in front of the small black/white TV for days.

I was in Grade 5 when Bobby was killed. We heard it from someone at the bus stop. I don't remember my teacher mentioning it. We watched the black/white TV again as the train made it's way back to Washington.

At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Mom and I whispered to each other how the young Army soldiers in the Honor Guard reminded us of Dad. He was tall and thin and looked mighty dignified (and VERY handsome) in his dress uniform. He had often served in an Honor Guard capacity while in the National Guard.
Sometimes I feel as though Dad is standing beside me. A rainy day in April at Arlington was one of those days.

Across the street from the amphitheater at the Tomb is a group of 3 memorial stones. The left one is for the Challenger Astronauts and the right one is for the Columbia Astronauts. The one in the center is for the 8 American servicemen who died in an unsuccessful attempt to rescue the hostages held at the US Embassy in Iran in April of 1980. They were all under 35 years old and 2 were only 21.


Honeybell said...

Beautiful photos.

Suzy said...

I may be dense but is that single grave and cross your Dad's?

Melissa said...

awesome post. awesome snaps. this captures the spirit of the holiday so well.

Anonymous said...

If only our government honored our living soldiers with as much care and attention before they died.