Saturday, September 26, 2009

Into the graves, Arlington Cemetery

It was a rainy day. The graves wet, thousands and thousands of graves. White stones sitting in rows, rows and rows, like doves ready to fly, but cemented into place. Men dead from war. There lies such history in these grounds. Such mystery in these grounds. There lies so many stories. Ones of men fighting for freedom. Ones of men fighting for what seemed right. The head stones shined against the mist. Each one reminding me of how lucky I am to be here.

To lie in the ground. We all come to lie in the ground. What I realized after seeing the graves. All uniformly erected, row by row. We all end up the same. Into the ground. Whether I die from a lady swerving into me as she was texting or a mistake while climbing or from old age or by a family-man turned soldier, I come to lie in the ground. It's not a scary thing, the ground. I mean, I walk on it every day. I lay on it when I'm tired and I step on it when I jog down the street. It's there. It provides support and keeps me "grounded". I'm not afraid of the ground, of the dead in the ground. It's the political acts that cause the dead to be in the ground that make me afraid. It's the gun powder and ammunition that makes me afraid. The ground is cold and it's hard, but it's there and I know what it feels like. I don't know what it feels like to kill another man, to fire a gun at a living soul. Nor would I want to know what it feels like. War is pain. The ground is far more comforting than war.

Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not one of those hippie, "no war can ever exist" types of people. Nah. I rather define myself as a sort of neo-realist, that sees war as inevitable within the confines of human extortion. But still, to see all those graves. To witness the changing of the guard, made it all the more real. At times, I turn the dial of my brain to forget, disguising the pain felt behind seeing these graves, the men and women beneath them. But in moments like this, the dial is turned to "never forget" and the buzzer is buzzing, my head getting heavy. I honor them, and I thank them for sacrificing themselves in duty in order for me to live. Into the graves they wandered, being remembered for what they were, soldiers.

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