I cannot help but be grateful. Grateful is not even a word that brings justice to how I feel. As I walked through Arlington National Cemetery, I had one of the most sobering experiences of my life. Grave after grave, tombstone after tombstone, I walked silently crying. These were not simple decorations or even just memorials. Memorials used to mean something- something significant happened or someone did something extraordinary. They are not landmarks. They are symbols, jewels of history. Walking the mile, so it seemed, to my friend’s gravesite, I had this sense of respect, honor, and legacy that I have never felt before. Those men and women buried there were not mere men or women. They were not ordinary. They lived and died in purpose, with a cause birthed in their hearts. America. Family. Friends. Brotherhood. Freedoom. Whatever their reason, it was enough for them to lay it all down. To the point of death, it mattered that much. Yes, I am aware that not every person buried in Arlington died in action or due to injuries post war, but for the vast majority, they lived with purpose, and died with abandon. I believe they are heroes. I have the utmost respect for soldiers of any branch of service. It involves sacrifice to a degree. But seeing a soldier’s grave, like my friend’s, reminds me so much more of sacrifice worth having, one that impacts history, leaves a legacy, and saves lives. My friend died protecting his men. He died in the service of freedom and honor. Thank you to all soldiers out there.