On November 9 & 10 2021. I had the privilege to volunteer as a part of the 100 anniversary of the tomb of the unknown soldier. At sunrise, I watched the Native Americans initiate the re-dedications as they had done at the initial dedication, 100 years ago. To say that their presence in their native dress was striking, and humbling, as the first rays of sun were coming over the horizon, would be a gross understatement.
The next hour was reserved for “distinguished guests” … senior military officers, senior government officials .. someone who knew someone … Some you might recognize in television, some you might not. No photo ops … no “handlers” clearing the way for their “appearance” at the tomb … just a quiet reverence ..
The next 8 hours, each day was for the general public, you know us, the great swath of America, some young, some old, some grey, all ethnicities and genders … to pay silent tribute. The line moved for moved 20 minutes-ish … the line stopped for 5-10 minutes to allow for the changing of the guard … and then began moving again …. In a quiet cadence … college students … young professionals … vets in their hats and clothing with symbols known to their past … signifying connection to past military units, current and lost brothers and sisters.
November 9 and 10 were school days … I greeted visitors after leaving their flowers at the tomb, offered them another flower to take, or leave at another gravesite ….. asked where they had traveled from … 43 states was my inaccurate count … parents took their children out of school for the day … they vast majority looked like they were dressed in their Sunday Best after having attended religious services … joking with the kids about a free day from school … more often the parents would interrupt …. No … learning about the sacrifice of these men and women is the best education …. this is a classroom