I remember visiting Arlington National Cemetery when I was in middle school. My parents thought that it was important to see the sacrifice that countless men and women have made for our country.
I remember walking out to the hallowed grounds. I looked out over JFK’s gravesite at the countless bright white tombstones, as if in formation, along the hillsides. I was astonished at the sheer number of tombstones I saw. I walked along Arlington’s gravel paths, reading names that marked each site. And I walked. And walked. And walked. And walked. Everywhere I turned, more tombstones, as far as the eye could see. I didn’t see much of the 640 acres at Arlington. What I saw was simply a fraction of those buried under the 640 acres at Arlington. And now I think… Arlington holds less than one-quarter of those lost in combat alone…
I remember the deafening silence. One of the first things you see when entering the grounds is a sign that asks for “Silence and Respect.” There were crowds at Arlington, but it didn’t feel “busy.” There was no commotion or noise. Just a few dull whispers. Arlington leaves a mark on you, as it should.
I remember the sacrifice that loved one’s made at home. Planting Victory Gardens, rationing materials, working in factories, or right here in the Woolen Mill, to produce socks for soldiers overseas. But I also recognize that they must have lived in fear and sadness, not knowing if their loved ones would return…
Every Memorial Day, I remember that trip. And more importantly, I remember the men and women who sacrificed everything to protect our country. Memorial Day is a busy day for many. Many take the opportunity to see their families and spend it with loved ones. Sometime during all the festivities today, take a moment of silence for those who gave their all.
We remember the following from Frankenmuth, MI were lost in combat during World War II. You may view their photographs on the following website, along with others from Saginaw County who were lost during World War II.
William “Billy” Elrich
“He who has not searched the past has no authority to present proposals for the present or the future.” - Wilhelm Loehe
Nathan is the Director of Education, Events, & Exhibits at the FHA.
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