“Freedom isn’t free”. Not sure who coined that saying but it has resonated with me for some time. Those of us fortunate enough to live in the world’s democracies know that our freedoms come with a high price, and a debt of gratitude to the men and women in our military who make them possible.
The world has thousands of war monuments and in no place are these monuments more varied than in Washington D.C. My favorite war memorial in D.C. is the Vietnam Memorial, beautiful in its simplicity, with over 50,000 names inscribed on its smooth polished granite surfaces. Each name has a life’s story and someone’s grief associated with it, and every time you visit this monument you’re likely to see someone who is remembering a loved one or who has left a gift or tribute to someone who fell. The first photo, of the “Three Soldiers”, is situated by the Vietnam Memorial.
The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a highlight of any visit to Arlington Cemetery in Virginia, just across the banks of the Potomac River from Washington D.C. (on General Robert E Lee’s former estate). The tomb is guarded 24/7/365 by an elite group of young soldiers who represent “the best” the military has to offer. The perfection of their attire, the exaggerated ritual of the changing of the guard, the clock-like precision of their behavior while on duty are mesmerizing to watch. The second photo highlights the eternal vigil at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
In this United States this weekend is a time of Remembrance. So do.