I cried deeply the first time I returned to my father's grave a year and a half ago. It had been 10 years since he was buried in Arlington National Cemetery, and they were tears that had not been shed since then.
I had no idea how I would respond to being here again. But, I was surprised to find no tears of sadness, only feelings of great satisfaction and happiness that my children, finally, can see the resting place of their grandfather. They seemed to understand the great honor of being here. The vastness, the beauty, and the quiet of the grounds spoke for itself. There were very few people around, but a glance was enough to know that we all shared a common loss as well as the definitive pride of having a loved one buried here.
That is the majesty of Arlington. We don't see death here. We see honor, we see pride, and we see the ultimate sacrifice of so many, recent and long before. The past taught a lesson to the future today, a lesson beyond words, beyond fear, loss, sadness and pain. A lesson about dedication, commitment, sacrifice and freedom. I can only hope that it is a lesson that will last.