I had not planned to do a column this issue but something I participated in today changed my mind. Today, I was part of the Wreaths Across America project at Arlington National Cemetery. Every gravestone had a wreath placed upon it and a moment of rememberance.
I went with my daughter, son in law, grandson and their god daughter. We were part of a 50,000 volunteer force. This will go down as one of the most important things that I have done in my time on this earth. To be able to honor all of those who have fallen in service to this great country was a small but meaningful contribution on my part. I am so proud of my daughter, Ashley for suggesting we do this.
The last time I was on the grounds of Arlington National Cemetery was to witness the funeral of John F. Kennedy November 25, 1963. I was 10 and remembering being on a hillside and saw Charles DeGaulle, the French President as he was taller than the other dignitaries. I also remember the riderless horse with the boots turned backwards in the stirrups. 54 years later, I visited the eternal flame and saw the graves of John and Jackie Kennedy as well as brother Robert and Ted.
As part of the wreath laying, we recited the name on the headstone, thanked them for their service and paused to appreciate the sacrifices each of the individuals made. In this season of wonder and magic, it is important to give. My grandson walked up to anyone in uniform, both military and police and thanked them. He received a lot of smiles.
In this season, it has become important for me to remember that at this stage of my life. It’s not about material things, but rather on how I can give back. I may not be a millionaire, but I am so blessed in so many ways. Today was a start on giving back, being grateful, and celebrating the good that can happen when we get together for a purpose such as the Wreaths Across America project. I was proud to help unload a truck as well. It tugged at my heart that I was able to share some of the history with two generations of my family.
It was also breathtaking to stand at Arlington National Cemetery, look across the Memorial Bridge, see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and the Capitol all in a row.
To see the turnout today restored my faith in humanity a bit. These have been divisive times, so it made my heart soar to be with family and see so many people brave a little cold and honor those who gave their lives in ultimate sacrifice that we may live in freedom. It was breathtaking to see the transformation of all the hillsides of headstones go from being naked to being bedecked with beautiful wreaths. Merry Christmas to each and every resident of Arlington National Cemetery.
As we get wrapped up in holiday madness, stop for a moment and be grateful for those in service. Be blessed to each and every one who stops by.
I am grateful for each and every one of you.