Sunday

Remembering - A Post from Arlington

These thoughts from my daughter, Kristen, are worth revisiting this Memorial Day.
Copyright 2012 by Kristen Hatcher

Side by side, shadowed by white markers and red, white, and blue flags, they lay quiet under green grass in long, seemingly endless rows. 
 
The silence is loud, the stillness heavy. 

The President will be here soon to express the gratitude of a nation. It’s Memorial Day, and it just felt right to begin my day at Arlington National Cemetery remembering just how high a price was paid for my freedom and the freedom of the country I love so much. Living in our nation’s capital, I’ve grown accustomed to seeing monuments to presidents, generals, and others who shaped our country, but the sight of these white headstones stretching as far as I can see never ceases to move me.

A desire to say thank you brought me to Arlington this morning. I didn't expect to leave with a blessing of my own.  

When I arrived, a kind volunteer offered me two beautiful long stemmed roses. “Place one on a headstone, and take one with you as a memorial,” she said as I took the flowers. Because I am new to Washington and unsure about what is appropriate, I had considered bringing flowers, but ruled it out.

As I walked through the cemetery, it was difficult to comprehend that under each of the thousands of white headstones dotting the ground lay someone’s husband, wife, mother, father, sister, brother, or friend--there in the ground--because of me. Because they believed that the idea of freedom, of a government by, of, and for the people was worth defending, worth dying for. 


Copyright 2012 Kristen Hatcher
Laying my rose on the headstone of a veteran of World War II and both the Vietnamese and Korean conflicts, I breathed a silent prayer of thanks for this brave man’s sacrifice for my freedom. The words of a song from the Civil war echoed in my ears, “As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free.” Their sacrifice reminded me of another innocent life that was given for my freedom centuries ago.  Our nation’s soldiers’ sacrifice freed my body and my mind; His sacrifice freed my heart and my soul. 

Abraham Lincoln, while dedicating Gettysburg National Cemetery, said, “The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did.”  From where I stand, a river separates our national cemetery in Arlington, Virginia, from our nation’s capital, in Washington, D.C.  The Peace Bridge connects the two. This bridge is only possible because of the men who surrendered their lives and were laid to rest here in Arlington. In fitting tribute, I acknowledge that I have peace with God because Jesus Christ surrendered his life long ago for me, because He loved me too much to leave me on the other side of the river without a bridge. 

This Memorial Day, we must remember the price that was paid for our right to shop, barbeque, spend time with our children, protest, live based on our religious beliefs, or choose not to believe at all.  It’s our right.We have the freedom to do so. But we must remember how much that freedom cost, and we must be thankful.

Copyright 2012 by Kristen Hatcher





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Thank you, Kristen, for allowing me to share this poignant memorial with my readers.







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11 comments:

  1. Our family visited D.C., including Arlington, three years ago. It was awe-inspiring and my husband and I had tears in our eyes as we walked through the cemetery. Great post! Sharing to FB.

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  2. It is a solemn, and beautiful place, Meghan. I'll never forget the experience. This year, I got to share it with my daughter Kristen, who guest posted for me on her experience last year. thanks for stopping by :)

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  3. Beautifully written! Thanks for sharing your daughter's post, Lori. She's a talented writer!

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    1. . . . and a deep thinker with a true heart for the Lord. I was privileged to share her tradition this year. I can't wait to share our experience. Stay tuned :) Passing your kind words on to my sweet girl. . .

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  4. This was a beautiful post written with such honor for those who died for our freedom. Thank you Kristen.

    And thanks Lori for linking up with WholeHearted Home again.

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  5. Lori, thank you for sharing your daughter's beautifully written post. I felt like I was there--seeing and experiencing what she experienced. For some reason, I remembered just a small portion of a poem--it generally surfaces at this time of year--"In Flanders Fields". Yes, we should honor those who gave their lives for our freedom. However, the greatest sacrifice was Jesus', who gave us true peace with God and victory over death and the grave.

    Blessings!

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    1. I agree that Christ set the bar for sacrifice and love. And we, undeserving recipients, must never forget the price he paid on our behalf. "Amazing love, how can it be, that thou my God shouldst die for me!"

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  6. Powerful post Lori. Thank Kristen for me.

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    1. Your thanks have been passed along . . . all the way to Japan, where she and her husband are currently stationed. Blessings to you, friend!

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  7. It's sad that it will take so much sacrifice to achieve the freedom and peace we hope to have. Hats off to the heroes who make it possible.

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    1. Amen, Lux. We owe them a great debt, and I'm very grateful.

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