Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

February 13, 2013
His identity remains a mystery, but what is known is this: he is one of many that have fallen victim to their own determination, passion, and drive for protecting the freedoms we hold custom today. A symbol for all those that remain unidentified fallen heroes, the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier has an applicable moral and historical message to each and every one of us that walk on this soil.

Similar to most, my grandfather served in the military during the period of the Vietnam War. Not only were countless soldiers disrespected on home turf, but many soldiers’ efforts remained unrecognized for their importance in battle nonetheless. While he did not physically endanger his life against the Vietcong, his role during service is a reminder to me that behind every hero comes the unsung voices of those that allowed them to get there. My grandfather maintained weapons and helicopters as well as fixing damaged equipment. Based on surface value, the job comes off as one that would not entail any straining damage to the person. However, beneath this come the emotional hardships that are inflicted upon soldiers each and every day. He was forced to move his family every year or so to new military housing camps, some based in foreign countries such as Germany. His three sons, one of which being my father, switched schools often enough that they never had time to make or hold onto friends. Throughout this, my grandfather left for long periods of time to various countries, including Korea. He missed his family, and they all feared that one day he would be called to the battle field as many were drafted out of necessity in the day. I hold these accounts dear to me, to remember that we cannot forget the unknown work of those beyond the treacherous fields. Likewise, we mustn’t forget the valiant sacrifices the unnamed soldiers have taken upon themselves to protect this nation we take for granted, and to protect complete strangers at will, like you and I, completely aware that in doing so, they may never return to the sanctity of their home soil.

Morally, one must apply the works of the heroes that protect us day to day to our own lives through sacrifice that may not always be recognized or rewarded. Charity work is something I take upon myself to assist those left in poverty, but are strangers at best, as a soldier gives so much more to the millions they cannot name. Accordingly, we cannot name the faces of countless men and women that embark on warfare and do not return, but do we forget their works, their sacrifices, and their souls victim to selfless action? No, we hold their efforts with us, and take the time to honor them as they honored us by protecting our freedoms. It would be an upmost privilege to be awarded the opportunity to give back to those that gave so much, although it will never be enough.

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