11 June 2010

Memorial Day Wreath-Laying Ceremony and Concert

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.

See Joe Biden's wife in the bottom-left corner

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.


Admiral Mike G. Mullen, Chairman of the Joint of the Staff gave the opening remarks.

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.




It was pretty cool seeing the Vice President.  He gave a good speech. Patriotic and sensitive to those who have given so much for our country.  He quoted someone who had fought many times in war that said something to the effect that when people think of war they think of hatred and evil but in reality hatred is not enough to motivate anyone to put their lives in danger.  It's the love that soldiers have for their families at home and the other soldiers they fight with that motivates them.  I had never thought about it that way.  It made me think of war differently.


The Vice President stated participating in the ceremony was "the greatest honor of my public life." In his opening comments he stated, "Collectively, the generation of soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines who have served and sacrificed for us are the heart and soul, and I would say, spine of this nation. And as a nation, we pause today to remember them. They gave their lives fulfilling their oath to this nation and to us. And in so doing, they imparted a responsibility on us to recognize, to respect, to honor and to care for those who risked their lives so that we can live ours."

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.

1 comment:

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