An afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery

“This, then, is the state of the union: free and restless, growing and full of hope. So it was in the beginning. So it shall always be, while God is willing, and we are strong enough to keep the faith.” — Lyndon B. Johnson

A few years back we spent a few days in Washington DC and spent an afternoon in Arlington National Cemetery. As the day got later and the light grew softer I saw a headstone with an American Flag embedded in front of it so I set the tripod up at the base of it and shot that grave in the foreground with the thousands of others splayed out around it. Walking that cemetery really makes you realize the sacrifice soldiers have made, and continue to make, for this country in their effort to free us initially and to keep us free ongoing.

Arlington National Cemetery – Washington DC

Arlington National Cemetery - Washington DC

“I believe in America because we have great dreams, and because we have the opportunity to make those dreams come true.” — Wendell L. Wilkie

Enjoy the weekend!

Memorial Amphitheater

The Arlington National Cemetery Memorial Amphitheater hosts three memorial services a year – Easter, Memorial Day and Veterans Day. Most of the military organizations host annual memorial services in the amphitheater to oversee all the deaths within the branch of their respective organizations.

The following, from President Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is inscribed above the stage:

“We here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain,”

Above this entrance to the amphitheater the quote says:

“Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,” (“It is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country.”)

– Horace, Ode III (65 BC – 8 BC)

Photo of the Day – Arlington National Cemetery

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Remembering those that Served

Memorial Day in the USA is today so take a moment to reflect on those that have served and made the ultimate sacrifice to allow us to be free. Here are some interesting facts that I found while doing some reading on the history of Memorial Day:

– Memorial Day originated in 1866 in Waterloo, New York. The original intention was to honor those that died in the Civil War.

– Memorial Day is always celebrated on the last Monday in May

– 3:00 PM local time is the ‘official’ time of remembrance every Memorial Day

– Before noon all flags should be flown at half staff, but at noon all flags should be raised fully until the end of the day

– Critics of Memorial Day blame the placement of the holiday on the last Monday in May as the reason the day has lost the ‘Memorial’ and instead turned into the ‘official’ start of summer for most with BBQs, alcohol consumption and partying. Historically (pre-1980s), it was always celebrated on May 30th thus not always providing three-day weekends.

Photo of the Day – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

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I found this online as well and can’t dispel the accuracy of it but thought the numbers were sobering so take a minute to remember the reason for the party.

U.S. War Casualties
Civil War – Approximately 620,000 Americans died. The Union lost almost 365,000 troops and the Confederacy about 260,000.

World War I – 116,516 Americans died

World War II – 405,399 Americans died

Korean War – 36,574 Americans died

Vietnam Conflict – 58,220 Americans died

Operation Iraqi Freedom – 4,466 U.S. service members have died

Operation New Dawn – 66 U.S. service members have died

Operation Enduring Freedom – 2,219 U.S. service members have died as of May 21, 2013

Unfilled Dreams

“Cemeteries are full of unfulfilled dreams… countless echoes of ‘could have’ and ‘should have’… countless books unwritten… countless songs unsung… I want to live my life in such a way that when my body is laid to rest, it will be a well needed rest from a life well lived, a song well sung, a book well written, opportunities well explored, and a love well expressed.

– Steve Maraboli

Photo of the Day – The Rows of Arlington National Cemetery

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Last year we spent some time in Washington DC and walked through Arlington National Cemetery. We watched the changing of the guard at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier and were overwhelmed with the amount of tombstones throughout the military cemetery. To think about all of the unfulfilled dreams in that cemetery – those that died too young and sacrificed their life so that people like I can sit here and chase my dream without worrying about anything getting in my way. We are all very thankful for those that have served.

Times Certainly Have Changed at the Super Bowl Party

Good superbowl tonight and I appreciated the 34 minute power outage that coincided with my drive back from the suburbs of Chicago where I watched the first half. We each have a lot to do tomorrow and had to do that responsible adult thing of not drinking too much and getting into bed at a decent time…oh to being an adult.

This is the seventh straight year I’ve gone to the same guys house for the super bowl. He used to live a few blocks away from me but is now a forty mile drive to the burbs. Not only the location of the party has changed but also the crowd at the party – where there used to be kegs of beer, shots of whiskey after touchdowns, post game festivities, etc… is now replaced with jump-a-roos, mini-basketball and babies on the way. It certainly leads me to realize our core group of friends are getting older but that’s okay because with age comes a non-hungover workday tomorrow. However, I expect many of our younger workers to be less than productive tomorrow.

Photo of the Day – Arlington National Cemetery

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We were out in Washington DC and spending some time in Arlington National Cemetery. In the distance was the Pentagon and stretched around me were the graves of many soldiers that had lost their lives going to battle to defend the nation on orders from, mainly, those individuals situated in that five sided building. I found that to be somewhat ironic.

Eve of Thanks

As we embark on the season of thanks I’d like to start mine off by saying thanks to all the men and women who keep our country safe. It’s a difficult job and I can’t express just how much we appreciate it.

Photo of the Day – Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

We watched the presentation three of four times – they do the changing of the guard every fifteen minutes or so during the major tourist season at Arlington National Cemetery. The crowd kept changing and we kept switching vantage points. We were waiting for sunset so we had a lot of time and while time they change it is similar there are subtle differences.

At the tomb of the unknown soldier – known only to God. Thank you again to all the men and women fighting throughout the world and those that have fought in the past. You are amazing!

DC Viewing Point

We were touring Arlington National Cemetery which is quite sobering – off on the horizon was a clear view of the historical downtown DC area with all of the monuments. I thought the view was pretty amazing so I set up my tripod and fired off a few shots from varying angles.

Photo of the Day – I can see clearly now

It was a perfectly clear day and this was my favorite shot from Arlington to the downtown area. I liked the angle of the historical marker (I didn’t take notes but I believe that the marker is where the founder of the National Cemetery is buried) facing over the downtown area. I also thought the prominence of the other monuments (Lincoln Memorial at end of the road, Washington Monument, White House and Jefferson Memorial) were spaced out appropriately.