My Trip to the NATIONAL MEMORIAL CEMETERY OF ARIZONA
As I approached I was amazed at the amount of traffic, cars parked, traffic control, flags, and veterans all lining the road. Entering the Cemetery, the vast size of the grounds and the amount of flags representing each life of a person is overwhelming. As I walked from grave site to grave site, reading the grave markers, I saw that each one represented someones husband, wife, father, mother, son, daughter, grandpa, grandma, a life, a hope, a dream, and a promise. I felt an awe of respect and reverence, almost as if I was standing on Holy Ground. I found it hard to fight off my emotion as I realized these represented the loss of a loved one.
As I walked by people at the sites, I picked up on bits of conversations, they were honoring and remembering their loved ones. I heard things like; “He gave it his all” “At least he died for a great cause” “I miss him so much” “she was too young” “until we see him again” “ I love and miss you” “sobbing” and a family of about 13 standing in a circle, holding hands around a grave site praying…..it was still early and people were just starting to pour in. They were getting ready to have a large, mass memorial service.
I spotted an older man by himself, sitting on the edge of his walker, hunched over slowly cleaning a grave marker plate. As I approached, I noticed he was wearing a hat representing the Korean War. I asked if I could speak with him…..after I thanked him for his service he begin to tell me he was visiting his brother. They both served in the Korean war and several times were in situations they thought they would die, no way out, but miracle after miracle they eventually made it home together. Then during Vietnam his brother wanted him to re-enlist with him, he didn’t, but his brother went anyway and he didn’t return alive, he misses him dearly. I stood amazed as I listened his stories.
I have family and friends that are veterans and I have always been thankful for their service and sacrifice, but after todays visit, I have a new and deeper grasp of the amount of sacrifice and pain people experience for our freedom. Realizing the National Memorial Cemetery of AZ has over 78,000 interred on its grounds and it is 1 of 147 other sites like it, is overwhelming to say the least….I am truly grateful to live in America, the land of the free!
THANK YOU to all the surviving members of the love ones that have made the ultimate sacrifice. It is my prayer that you will find PEACE, honor, joy, and assurance knowing, it is because of their/your sacrifice that we have the power or right to act, speak, or think without hindrance or restraint, we have freedom of religion, the hope of opportunity, and the right to freely pursue joy, and live life in a way that makes us happy. I am FOREVER grateful……Steve