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I Made it to Arlington This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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     One day while flipping through the radio, I heard an especially emotional song. It was about a man who had died in war telling his father that he should be proud because he had made it to Arlington. This song made me think about how quick death can be. And then I wondered what Arlington National Cemetery was really like. This year I finally visited with my class.

Walking through the visitors center, Arlington National Cemetery didn’t seem so special. I didn’t even feel like I was there until I saw the graves - 300,000 of them - and then the feeling of nothingness turned to sadness. These people had all died for what they believed.

Our guide started pointing out the servicemen and women who had received Medals of Honor and other awards. Each headstone is inscribed with the war the soldier fought in, which made it all the more real. These people are remembered for what they did for our great country and their numbers grow constantly, with an average 28 funerals every day at Arlington.

We then went to President and Jackie Kennedy’s gravesite, where an eternal flame burns. It was magnificent and very emotional.

Then we climbed a steep hill to Robert E. Lee’s house, which overlooks the cemetery. Standing in the garden, we watched two students re-enact what Lee told his wife when he decided to join the Confederate army.

Then we went down the hill just to go back up another to the most famous spot in the cemetery: the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Along the way we stopped at Audie Murphy’s grave, the most decorated World War II combat soldier.

As we walked down the steps to sit and observe the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I started to feel more pride for our country than ever before. I also felt sad for those who don’t know where their children are because of war.

Just as I was getting comfortable, a guard came over and spoke so intensely that I almost fell over. He told us to stand for the changing of the guards ceremony. It was completely silent, almost eerie. Then it was time for the wreath-laying ceremony our school participates in every year. Our four class officers have this honor and it made me feel special and proud of our class.

As we walked back to the buses, I kept thinking about all those in the cemetery, their families, and what they must have gone through.

After visiting Arlington National Cemetery, I appreciate our servicemen and women even more and feel more patriotic than ever. I can also say, though in a different way than in the song, that I made it to Arlington.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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singergurl12 This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Jan. 5, 2011 at 7:06 pm
i really like this- it was really cool and has great imagery- i ecspecially like the last line and how you tied it back to the song and the beginning, it really gives it closure. great work!
 
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