We've heard about this Memorial Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony and Concert they have every year at Arlington Cemetery, but we never went. So this year we decided to go for it. We went a few hours early and parked at Ft. Meyers. We had to choose whether to go to the concert/speaking part in the Memorial Amphitheater or the wreath laying ceremony. Since you have to stand in the sun the whole time to see the 2 minute wreath laying ceremony we decided to go with the concert.
We were lucky enough to get there while the seating was still pretty open and there was a spot on the far right that was shaded pretty much the entire time. I was dumb and didn't wear sunblock so it was a good thing we were in the shade. I'm pretty sure I would have had to go to the hospital otherwise. I got pretty burnt after only being in the sun for less than 20 minutes so I can't imagine the damage that would have been done if I had been in the sun for 3-4 hours.
The U.S. Navy Band and The U.S. Navy Sea Chanters were great as always and they entertained us with patriotic hymns while we waited for VP Biden to arrive.
The Honorable William J. Lynn, III, Deputy Secretary of Defense gave remarks and introduced the keynote speaker, The Honorable Joseph R. Biden, Jr., Vice President of the United States.
He concluded his comments by saying," To those who have lost a loved one in the service of our nation, I recall a famous headstone in Ireland. And the headstone reads as follows, “Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves a memory no one can steal.” No one can steal the memory from you. I can tell you from my own personal experience that eventually the pain and heartache you now feel will eventually, God-willing, be replaced by the joyful memory of the son or daughter or husband and wife or father or mother that you loved so dearly and lost. Jill and my prayer for you is that that day will come sooner rather than later. But it will come, I promise you." (army.mil)
|Native American Color Guard|
It was an inspiring event and I'm glad we went at least once in our lives. I wouldn't bring small children because the majority of the people were outside in the sun for hours...wear sunscreen and a hat and try and get a spot as far to the right as possible.