As we are all preparing to enjoy the upcoming three day weekend, I want to gently remind you that Memorial Day did not begin as a time to celebrate the first days of summer. The origins of the day came after the Civil War. Families of deceased soldiers came together on Decoration Day to honor their loved ones. Today, you too can honor our men and women who sacrificed for our Nation because no matter what you believe about a particular war, its rightness or its wrongness, I hope you agree that the soldiers who died are worthy of our remembrance and our respect.

Although it is possible to visit many different National Cemeteries in the United States, and even a few not within our borders, it isn’t always easy. I assembled this slideshow of Arlington National Cemetery for those of us that cannot visit a cemetery in person, for whatever reason. Many of the photos come from last Memorial Day, when each grave was adorned with a small American flag. Some photos come from this past winter and spring when fewer people visit the cemetery and it was possible to find peace and quiet. As my youngest son told me, this isn’t really a tourist attraction, though many people treat it as such. It is a place of national memory where each and every citizen should come and commune with the past in order to better understand our future.

Please feel free to share this virtual visit with your friends and family. Everyone should have the opportunity to visit a National Cemetery this weekend, even if they only do so online. Happy Memorial Day.

If you would prefer to see a slideshow, please click on the first photo.