Richard was kind enough to make this available for a re-blog. Enjoy! :-)
Many towns in America have constructed memorials to those residents who have given their lives in service to their country. On Memorial Weekend there are parades and ceremonies, some well attended, some not so. Take a moment today to think about all those who gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy our freedom.
Living in Crofton, MD, I'm less than an hour away from Washington, DC, and many of the largest memorials to our fallen soldiers.
Here are a few pictures to remind us of what Memorial Day is all about. Arlington National Cemetary, the WW II Memorial, the Korean War Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial. Yesterday, I was at Arlington National Cemetery and the Vietnam War Memorial and the crowds were huge and emotions were running high.
At the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier there is an Honor Guard that patrols 24/7/365. These soldiers are with the 3rd US Infantry and are called sentinals. Information on the Honor Guard sentinals can be found here. A changing of the Guard ceremony occurs every half hour. The Guards walk 21 steps in front of the Tomb, stop for 21 seconds, and walk 21 steps back. This is repeated until the Guard changing ceremony. If you're ever in Washington, DC, you should visit Arlington National Cemetery and definately see the Changing of the Guard Ceremony. The military has a long tradition and knows how to honor their fallen comrades.
The Tomb contains remains of unknown soldiers from WW I, WW II, and the Korean War. The remains of the Vietnam Unknown were identified by DNA testing in 1994 and the body was exhumed. The Vietnam Unknown will remain empty.
John Kennedy's gravesite at Arlington National Cemetery is identified by the Eternal Flame. His wife Jackie is buried next to the President.
The graves of servicemen stretch as far as the eye can see, in any direction you turn. Today, Arlington National Cemetery performs about 27 burials per day, on average. At this rate the cemetery will run out of space sometime around 2027.
The flags were placed in front of each grave last Thursday and will be removed Tuesday. "Flags In" is a large undertaking considering the size of Arlington National Cemetery.
Not everybody here died in combat but they have the right of burial for having served.
The WW II Memorial opened in 2004. A bit too late for many of those who served in that war to visit, including my Dad. How it took almost sixty years after the end of the war to honor those men and women, will always be a mystery to me.
I visited this memorial last fall. Many of the visitors at that time were vets from that era. As you can imagine, many of them were in wheelchairs, using walkers, or trying to straighten up and walk tall, as they visited their memorial to the war that was to end all wars.
There are 4,000 stars on this wall. Each star represents 100 men and women American soldiers who were killed during WW II. That's right, over 400,000 Americans gave their life to provide freedom for the rest of the world. How quickly many of those countries forgot that.
This is one of the Pavilions at the WW II site. I believe this is the Pacific Pavillion and there is a mirror Pavillion behind me for the Atlantic, commerating the theatres of battle. The columns on either side of the center pavillion represent individual States and Territories.
The Korean War tends to be forgotten my many. I was pretty surprised to see that over 54,000 Americans died in the Korean War.
Part of the Memorial are statues meant to display how soldiers patrolled on the Korean peninsula. Extreme weather conditions made the fighting even more difficult.
This is a granite wall at the Korean War Memorial which reflects the soldiers on patrol, as well as having etched images.
This quote on a granite wall at the Korean War Memorial says it all.
The Vietnam War Memorial seems to evoke the most emotion, even today. Seeing over 58,000 names chisled into that black granite is very imposing. I've seen grown men reach out and touch a name and start to cry.
That simple stark black granite wall, holding the names of so many men and women who had dreams to succeed, just like you and I.
The Vietnam Era was not a particularly good time for those serving in the military. The longer the war went on, soldiers received less support, and in some cases, outright derision from many in the American public. Many veterans never got over that treatment.
I was there yesterday and it was mobbed. This memorial seems to get the largest number of visitors, and the most amount of tears.
Here is a closer picture of the wall reflecting the crowds. It's a bit surreal to me. The reflection looks like they were almost mingling with the soldiers in the wall who will never be coming back.
Volunteers will use charcoal and etch over a name on request.
Many visitors leave personal items behind at the wall. Pictures, letters, etc. I understand that these items are collected and stored away. You can't walk past these items and not get a lump in your throat.
Pictures can't do justice to seeing these memorials in person. If you live in the DC area and haven't gone in a while, it's time to go back. If you're not from the DC area, try to make the trip, you won't be disappointed.
At some point, the country will erect a Memorial to those who served and died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Say a prayer that it will be the last Memorial we'll ever have to erect to America's finest who didn't return.
And here's one last picture for Mike Thornton, the former Marine. It's called a high and tight. Ask Mike what it means.
Richard Iarossi, REALTOR®
Long and Foster® Real Estate, Inc.
Crofton, MD 21114
©2009 - RichSellsHomes, All Rights Reserved
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