On my trip to Washington DC this past week, I visited Arlington Cemetery. I've been fortunate in the past two years to travel to DC fairly regularly, and I've seen all the monuments and memorials, but had not had the chance to visit this place of honor.
I wandered through the grounds for hours, pausing here and there to read the tombstones. I witnessed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I followed a horse drawn carriage on its way to lay another soldier to rest.
To be honest - it was overwhelming. I gazed at row upon row of graves - thousands of men and women who served this country - many having died in battle. A wave of profound sadness came over me as I sat on a bench and wept.
I think every American (I'm Australian/Canadian by birth and upbringing) needs to visit this place at least once in their lives. I passed a group of high school students - obviously there on a class trip. They were laughing and joking around as they walked from one "famous place" to another... I wanted to stop them all and remind them where they were and how much these people had sacrificed for their freedom. (I know - they're teenagers - the product of the XBox and over-the-top action movies - so over-exposed to fake violence and death - they can't appreciate the realities of this place).
Take the time to visit - many paid the price with the "full measure of their devotion" for their country, their brothers in arms, their families, their honor.