Arlington National Cemetery

One of the reasons I made a trip to Arlington National Cemetery last week was an unfortunate one. It was to visit the grave of an old friend.
Brad Conner was killed in action in Iraq on May 9, 2007. He was a 20 year Army Veteran and a Sergeant Major in the Army Special Forces "Green Beret". His grave was only a few weeks old when we visited, so he doesn't have one of the trademark white grave markers yet. But there were some rocks laid on his grave with special messages from family and friends.

He was part of a group of kids who hung out during the summers I was in college.

The war wasn't personal until I heard of Brad's death. Now the war seems much more real, and I think I understand more the sacrifice of the soldiers and their families. A little bit anyway. I don't think, unless he was my husband, brother, son or best friend, can I truly understand the loss of any of the soldier's lives.
As you walk through the acres and acres of white stone slabs at Arlington National Cemetery, the reality of war is even more clear.
The changing of the guard at "The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier" is moving.

The quotes around the John F. Kennedy site
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility
- I welcome it. John F. Kennedy
and the eternal flame give cause for pause and reflection...

as does the simple grave marker for Robert F. Kennedy. While at the cemetery, we heard gun salutes as graveside services were performed.
It is common practice to put rocks or stones on top of the grave markers of those been who were killed in Iraq. Does anyone know the significance of this?
Across the lane from where Brad's gravemarker was, they were excavating some land. It made me and my two companions wonder if they are preparing land for more space to bury the dead. I hope that wasn't the reason.
I am thankful for the soldiers who have fought over the years in the wars to defend our freedom...but we must never forget that it comes with high price.

As we express our gratitude,
we must never forget that the highest appreciation
is not to utter words, but to live by them.
John F. Kennedy


InlandEmpireGirl said...

The rocks with messages from the family are very touching. I am glad you visited that place.

Silver Valley Girl said...

So am I.