When: Christmas Day 2011
Where: Arlington National Cemetery
Why I wanted to do this: I wanted to spend Christmas with my Aunt and be somewhere special.
These men are here 24 hours per day in the cold, rain, heat, snow, wind, Holidays...always- they never leave or deter from their duty no matter what. Obviously the honor lies not only with the volunteers who guard this tomb but of course with these soldiers who lost their lives for us and we don't even know who they are-"known only to God". I felt that there was no better time to support these guards and these lost soldiers than on a day that is directed towards celebrating self sacrifice, love and peace.
Cost: No cost to enter the cemetery of course, the trip ended up totaling $405
What I would do differently? Well, I wish I could spend an entire day here, I think if I lived in the DC area, I would spend an abundance of my time here. I just think it's a good place to go to focus on something other than yourself. It was difficult to be in the moment whilst chasing a 1 year old but I when we arrived and they were changing the guard and I did have about two whole minutes of complete concentration while my little one was sitting quietly in her stroller.
Will I do it again? Probably not, I think we'll be staying home for Christmas from now on.
Something I would recommend? Absolutely.
Life changing? It was. As much as I love Christmas and presents and the idea of being with family it really makes me want to spend my most favorite days of the year doing something truly special and meaningful, not just to me but to others who deserve it. These guards who dedicate their lives and these soldiers who have lost their-they don't get to spend Christmas with their families...I really feel like we were there to support them. The responsibility of the tomb guards does not end when their 'shift' is over, they have to adhere to a strict set of rules not just while working-they are not allowed to drink on or of duty or curse for THE REST OF THEIR LIVES, they spend hours each day just preparing their uniform, and in order to even be given the opportunity to walk they must recite 7 pages of Arlington National Cemetery history verbatim. These are just a few of the obligations of a tomb guard sentinel and it is viewed as the highest honor in the military.
"GOD AND A SOLDIER ALL PEOPLE ADORE
IN TIMES OF WAR BUT NOT BEFORE-
WHEN WAR IS OVER AND THINGS ARE RIGHTED
GOD IS NEGLECTED AND AN OLD SOLDIER SLIGHTED"