Arlington Cemetery Sunburst

Arlington National Cemetery near sunset.

We had been walking for a while.

The July heat was as stifling as our disappointment that visiting hours had ended. The rapidly descending sun promised, but had not yet provided, any relief.

Neither of us knew exactly where to go, but we were compelled to continue moving. There was no mistaking the contrast between the cars fleeing D.C. on one side and the utter stillness of the cemetery that was both completely empty and far too full.

We turned a corner. Just over the low brownstone wall that separated us from the silence, the field appeared. The grass between the rows of white headstones made paths toward the setting sun. Individual rays of sunlight rested on some of the markers and pointed at others.

My daughter and I stood for a moment that lasted much longer. We couldn’t see their names, ranks, branch of service, or the too short range of birth to death. We could only see the stones memorializing their sacrifice.

We didn’t talk there, in that moment. Other than the rolling peel of commuters’ tires off the hot asphalt and the alternating whines and purrs of their engines, it was silent. Just before it was too late, I snapped a photo that somehow managed to capture a fraction of the tragically beautiful scene.

At iMGA we’ll close the office early today and remain closed on Monday in observance of Memorial Day.

Please take a moment this weekend to be silent, to remember those who have given their lives for us and our liberty. We will.

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