When I think about Washington DC, I don’t automatically associate it with the White House, the Washington Monument, or the Smithsonian. Instead, I think about the Vietnam Memorial, the Women’s Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.
I inevitably reflect on those who have sacrificed their lives for my country and the pride I feel walking in such noble, hallowed places. I told Patrick I feel as though it is necessary to pay my respects in some way each time I visit DC. Making the trip to walk along the names of the Wall and step through the grave stones of Arlington, especially of those long passed, is almost a pilgrimage for me. It makes me feel intensely, then gifts me with a sense of peace.
While at Arlington on this trip, I stood beside the Eternal Flame amongst an uncharacteristically subdued mob of spring break teenagers. As I took a few steps back turning to admire the view of the Mall I heard a girl of 7 or 8 years ask her father, “why is everybody whispering?”
He quietly said, “I will explain it in a little while.”
I smiled, hoping to be able to hear the same question from my nieces and nephews. It is up to us to make sure the next generation never forgets.
I truly hope he did indeed take the time to explain it.