Yesterday we went to Arlington National Cemetery. I haven't been there in years and it felt different to be there as a service member. Before it was always moving to see all of the headstones lined up perfectly. But this time I felt the weight of those lives upon my shoulders. We watched the changing of the guard and a wreath laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers and the sound of taps gave me goosebumps.
We also visited the Kennedy Family Grave. The following portion of President Kennedy's inaugural speech is enscribed in marble looking down on the Mall area of Washington:
I remember reading that when I was still in Middle School or possibly younger. I remember it being on of the ideas that sparked me towards military service. Even today it still makes me proud of what I have chosen to be a part of.
In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility—I welcome it. I do not believe that any of us would exchange places with any other people or any other generation. The energy, the faith, the devotion which we bring to this endeavor will light our country and all who serve it—and the glow from that fire can truly light the world. 24 And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country. 25 My fellow citizens of the world: ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man. 26 Finally, whether you are citizens of America or citizens of the world, ask of us the same high standards of strength and sacrifice which we ask of you. With a good conscience our only sure reward, with history the final judge of our deeds, let us go forth to lead the land we love, asking His blessing and His help, but knowing that here on earth God's work must truly be our own.