This Memorial Day weekend, as has occurred for 60 years, the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment will place small American flags on the more than 600,000 graves at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, and also at the U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
Amid the sea of graves at Arlington are 5,000 with no name on them.
They are the Unknowns who perished in service to their country. In their honor, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, made of marble quarried in Colorado, was dedicated in 1932. It’s one of the biggest tourist attractions in the nation’s capital area, and is uniquely powerful. Laughing visitors quiet down as they approach it, awed by what it signifies.
Guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year by volunteer members of the 3rd U.S. Infantry (the Old Guard) in full dress uniforms, the tomb is inscribed with these words:
“Here Rests In
Known But To God.”
Indeed, God alone is aware of the unfathomable extent of the sacrifices made on our behalf by America’s military veterans, known and unknown. But over the generations, thousands of families have endured their own sacrifices, listening quietly as Taps was played and Old Glory was folded and given to a grieving loved one.
Because of our veterans’ service, Americans are able to live in peace and freedom, in a nation that is the model of liberty for the world.
As we go about enjoying the long Memorial Day weekend with family and friends, we all might want to pause, ponder the enormity of our debt, and offer up a prayer for those now serving in harm’s way all over the world.
All of us at the American Civil Rights Union wish you a blessed Memorial Day.