“America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination and an unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.”
-Harry S. Truman
It was Monday morning and the plan was to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge. I have never been across the bridge and thought it would be a perfect challenge. The bridge is long, high, intimidating and beautiful. I also remembered that it was a fond memory of my Dad’s and I needed to see this engineering wonder.
As I made my way to the bridge, it seemed that the route I had intended to take just wasn’t making much sense. And just as I was starting to try and figure out which way I was heading, I looked to my right and there was the Golden Gate National Cemetery… I could not believe what I was seeing… thousands of white marble headstones with small flags strategically placed in front of them. Let me be clear, there were so many I wasn’t sure where the cemetery began and where it ended, but I was certain I absolutely needed to stop and pay my respects on this Memorial Day.
I did not have any family members in the United States military, but I have an incredible appreciation and admiration for all military servicemen/women that have served their country with honor and dignity. They have afforded us the priceless freedoms that are protected under the U.S. Constitution and they must know that their efforts and lives have not been lost in vain. Furthermore, my father although not a U.S. serviceman, still fought on the same side as the U.S. in WWII… if he were here today, he would have insisted that we go out of our way to pay our respects, because it is the right thing to do for those who served.
I entered the cemetery and found myself gasping quickly for a breath as I was shocked at the sheer numbers of servicemen/women that had served this country and that were now no longer living. As I was able to make it to the top of the hill where the large flag stood waving in the wind, I could see the gravesites in perfect alignment for as far as the eye could see. This is where courage resides… this is where the brave are buried… this is what sacrifice looks like…. This is what Memorial Day is all about…
Thank you to all the servicemen/women, past and present, for your persistence, bravery, determination and absolute courage in protecting the very freedoms that we all have been afforded because of the sacrifices you have made. You are all qi2courage heroes because you have chosen a selfless path with danger afoot to protect this amazingly beautiful free country, “The United States of America”!
I did make it to the Golden Gate Bridge, and it was teeming with people and traffic was crowded. Indeed it was a beautiful sight, but somehow stopping to walk across it seemed less important after just leaving the National Cemetery. I will visit again very soon and I will keep this Quest on the list of things to do.
Today’s Quest reminded me that sometimes the road we think we are supposed to follow takes us in an unexpected direction. It can lead us to places we never thought we would see, but are meant to experience. I am humbled by this experience and take with me the images of our fallen soldiers. Every time I post, I want to remember all those flags and gravestones. They are symbols that my First Amendment right to post is a freedom that came at a very high price. To servicemen and women, past and present—thank you for your service.
Humbled and deeply grateful…. Several tears shed and their spirit now with me…. Wondering what tomorrow will bring.