Arlington National Cemetery - 10/15/16

Veteran’s Day should be a National Day of recognition on a par with Independence Day.

The reason is that although all of us say thanks to our Vets for their service, do we really know their sacrifice, particularly those among us who have not served.

A visit to Arlington National Cemetery was enough to convince me. The Kennedys buried there are popular, and everyone must experience the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is stunning.

But it is something more than monuments and ceremony that can stop you in your tracks and take your breath completely away.  Something real. Something human.

As I was walking from the Kennedy graves to the Tomb of the Unknown, I noticed to my right a couple in their 70’s or early 80’s between rows of head stones. The Cemetery allows family to visit graves.

They stood there for a few seconds as I passed about 100 feet away on the public side of the chain link rope. Then the woman walked forward and away to my right. The man stayed, then went to his knees putting his forearms over top of the headstone, and sunk his head between his arms.  The photo I had to take tells it all.

I could not walk or speak. I teared up. It was unavoidable but natural.  The pride and the pain were immeasurable in that moment, to witness what I just knew was a father in a never-ending goodbye to his son.

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