For all the time I’ve spent in our nation’s capital–multiple trips to every monument and memorial, it’s hard to believe I missed something. Then again, maybe it’s not a complete surprise that I never saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier–when you see this photo from an earlier visit to Washington.
For many people like me from the Vietnam era, the world inside the military has always been completely unknown. I never had the slightest interest in knowing anything about the parallel universe of the military, and I assumed I never would.
Of course you should never say never.
The universe had a master plan for this gap in my Washington experience. Last weekend I saw the Tomb of the Unknown soldier in the company of a real soldier, my son-in-law.
Had I visited before, I would have completely missed what I could see now. As we watched the changing of the guard, I could see it through the eyes of two people who chose and love the military life. They appreciate the honor of being one of the few soldiers chosen to stand guard 24 hours a day. They understand the meaning for those who have served the rest of us.
Looking at the sea of stones with a soldier next to me, I took in the enormity of so many graves, filled with the bodies of men like my son-in-law. And their wives. As Alli pointed out to me proudly in a casual comment. Someday, as the wife of a veteran, my own daughter could end up buried in Arlington National Cemetery.
Need I say– I never signed up for this…