Tomb of the Unknown Soldier 

Many moons ago when I was in high school, I was selected to lay the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Arlington National Cemetery while on a trip to Washington DC. We paid tribute to fallen servicemen and women. 

It was such an honor and so humbling. 
I dug up some old photos to share. I am very grateful for whoever snapped the pics. I was young and that experience will live with me forever. Much like the soldiers who have fought and lost their lives throughout history. Whether claimed or unknown, many young when they went to war, thousands never to return home the same. Many more never to return home at all. 

On that particular morning at Arlington National Cemetery, there was a chill in the air. It was raining and foggy. 

If you’ve never been to Arlington, what a sight to see. Thousands of small headstones in neat rows, filling the land in every direction. Mothers and fathers, daughters and sons in their final resting places. 

On a trip to DC, you can pay respects at several memorial sites. The impact on you will be tremendous I know. I am always overcome with emotion.

For Arlington, three other graduating seniors from my class were selected by our peers to represent our school and participate in the great honor of laying the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. 

Me walking towards the tomb

The soldier guiding us was so kind and when it was time to begin the ceremony, he turned around and got so serious. It made sense though. Laying the wreath is a very somber ceremony. We were very meticulous and in sync with every step. We watched the changing of the guard and participated in the entire ceremony. It was incredible and so powerful to be part of. 

Me on the back right

Memorial Day, we think of ones we’ve lost, known and unknown and naturally give thanks to veterans and active duty soldiers we still have. Each group just as important as the other…for they all deserve our respect when they protect and serve as intended. Many sacrifice their lives in the process and we remember them because life is precious and we only have one to live. We thank you.

May our active duty military and veterans have the peace and strength to go through another day and night then again and again. May you have what you need to keep fighting the fight, whatever fight that may be. 

Thank you for your service. Thank you for your sacrifice. 

If you know of any resources to help Veterans (national or local to you), please share by leaving a comment with the information.  

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When Tragedy Strikes

When tragedy strikes, it is an awful and powerful reminder of how fragile life is. It jolts us back for a minute to sharing and showing love to those we cherish and adore. It screams call, hug, kiss, tell the ones you love that you love them so.

When tragedy strikes and takes a life or several, it’s tough.

This post is not meant to be a downer. I actually had plans to write about something completely different but I felt it best to address this which laid more heavily on my heart.

Sometimes real life hits and it’s important to acknowledge the smooth seas right along with the storms that rock the boat. Life has an overwhelming fair share of both.

This weekend marked 10 years since Hurricane Katrina hit the southern coast of the United States and did a lot of damage. Homes were destroyed, families were displaced and lives were lost.

In two weeks will bring September 11, another infamous day in recent American history. Many unsuspecting lives gone, remembered, still mourned and memorialized in different ways like the fountains at Ground Zero. I visited New York for my first time this summer and was able to stand in front of the Freedom Tower and look into the fountain memorial, reading names along the side. I said a prayer sending peace and love to all lost and those left behind, some who have managed to move their lives forward and those who haven’t, perhaps forever stuck in the replaying of that day’s events – both groups wanting one more kiss, hug, touch, wink and laugh.

Today a longtime friend of mine let me know a high school classmate of ours passed away last Thursday. Just 2 weeks ago many of my high school classmates got together to celebrate our 10 year reunion. I did not make it due to my sister’s wedding but wished the class of 2005 well. The young man who passed away wasn’t someone I kept in touch with regularly but we exchanged a few casual social media comments over the past year. I was struck by how young he was and the fact he had gotten engaged recently to a girl we went to high school with. They were to be married next August. Health complications took his life without warning. His fiancé and family are here figuring out what’s next.

New York following 9/11 and the southern coast impacted by Katrina including hard hit areas like New Orleans have been rebuilding since tragedy struck. The resilience sought, the strength and hope they fought for were necessary to gain footing and move forward. These moments are never forgotten.

My classmate’s fiancé, family and high school friends will be the same…Searching for resilience, peace, strength and hope to rebuild and move forward. 

When tragedy strikes it is uncomfortable and awkward and disorienting until you can regain vision and perspective and direction. May this be the reminder you need to share that i love you, i’m sorry, i need you, that laugh, that kiss, that hug, that call, that text. Life is still fragile and tomorrow has never been promised.

Namaste.

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9/11 Memorial

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