Saturday, March 05, 2011

The Arlington Cemetery - A Place of Heroism and Nationalism

The Arlington Cemetery is one of the few famous sights to see in the District of Columbia - Virginia area. It has its own stop by Metro subway system so that travelers and tourist can easily visit the area. Entrance is free, but of course travelers with vehicles would have to settle for pay parking areas.

The Arlington Cemetery is final resting place to many heroes of all wars that the United States have fought, from the Civil War, to the First and Second World War, up to the most recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. It is also the final resting place of former Supreme Court Justices, anden Presidents. One of the most visited burial sites in Arlington is the Kennedy's. President John F. Kennedy, former first lady Jacqueline, and Former Senators Robert and Ted all lie in Arlington Cemetery, as well as President William H. Taft. Pierre Charles L'Enfant, the famous architect of Washington, D.C. was also buried in Arlington.

Arlington House, 1864
JFK and the Eternal Flame
The Arlington Estate, Overlooking the District of Columbia

Another highlight of the Arlington tour is the hourly changing of the guard in the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The Tomb of the Unknown soldier remembers Americans who fought war but were never found or identified. They may have not been identified, but their heroism, courage, nationalism and loyalty will always be remembered. On the tombstone, it is written: "Here rests in Honored Glory an American Soldier, known but to God."

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

A soldier guards the tomb all day as a sign of their eternal gratitude to the unknown soldier's courage and loyalty. The guard is changed every hour in beautiful military honors.

This is another thing that America does best. They honor greatly their beloved warriors, their freedom fighters by presenting them with great tributes, with monuments, with remembrances. Americans in the future generations will always remember how their soldiers fought for freedom, liberation, and peace, even not of their own.

It is time for us Filipinos to do the same. Our countrymen have fought and died to restore freedom and independence, from the Spanish to American to Japanese eras. And even until today, our beloved soldiers are fighting to restore peace and order in the war-torn South. It is time for us to honor their bravery just like how other nations like America values their freedom fighters. As I watch the changing of the guards in Arlington, I remember my fellow countrymen, our dear soldiers who fought and died in many of our wars, even in the wars not of our own. They fight to the death even with little or no ammunition, but their triumphs are seldom heard in the metropolis.

It is time for government to remind the Filipino people that we are safe and secure because of these uniformed men and women. This can happen in the form of a monument or shrine, but also in the form of monetary reward, like simply buying new sets of boots without "conversion" or corruption, or simply increasing the soldiers' hazard pay in battle. Or how about minimized corruption in the military? That would boost military morale and courage.

This one goes out to my Filipino brothers and sisters in the field, fighting to maintain the peace and security of the general population. You are the true heroes of the country, and not those generals living in lavish subdivisions with wives "allegedly" buying houses and lots in other parts of the world. You make us civilians proud.


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