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Guest opinion: Etched in granite
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Blue or Gray

Does it really matter?

Monuments carved from granite mark their final rest.

There are no enemies when you enter the hallowed ground at Arlington.

The sense of loss and sacrifice overwhelms Silence is broken only by the song birds.

Union markers topped off gambrel.

Confederate markers topped gable.

In perfect rows they stand at attention,

A stark reminder of the price paid for a house divided.

At Arlington National Cemetery lie soldiers from every war in U.S. history.

Citizens too, of all creed and color,

Brothers in arms who paid the ultimate price in defense of freedom.

The graves of over 400,000 men and women spread over 600 acres tell the story,

Without saying a word. May their sacrifice never be forgotten.

The Memorial Amphitheatre stands majestically overlooking the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.

There you will find a solitary sentinel who perpetually guards the tomb of the unknowns .

Never in my life have I witnessed a more poignant moment as the changing of the guard,

A duty bestowed on the Third U. S. Infantry Regiment, 24 hours a day … every day. 

The epitome of precision, grace and dedication; 21 steps of perfection that will leave you breathless.

If you ever doubt the resolve of this great nation, I say to you  … Go to Arlington Cemetery.

There amongst the headstones, one may be immersed in peaceful tranquility.

Close your eyes and listen closely, you may hear the voices of those who lie there consecrated.

Haunting whispers were etched into my brain, with a message from the fallen:

“Let us not have died in vain, we gave the final measure so freedom shall not perish from this Earth.” 

Is that not the message spoken or perceived that emanates from every section of this cemetery?  Now it rests on the shoulders of the living to honor this solemn plea.

Freedom from tyranny never comes free.

What price must we pay in the pursuit of War?

What value could we salvage with Peace?   

The answer to those questions my friend, lies in the hallowed ground of Arlington.

Always … always … remember …


Cleveland lives in Platteville.