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Long May I Live

Arlington National Cemetery

I awake each morning to the sun rising over our nation's capital. My rolling hills rise above the Potomac River, symbolizing service and an ultimate sacrifice to our country.

To many, I'm seen as a national treasure, but to more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families, I serve as a final resting place.

My existence ensures that these men and women will never be forgotten; their legacies will live on and forever be part of my presence.

I house five-star generals and unknown souls. I am home to privates and presidents. Even when very much alive, Kennedy remarked that he could stay on my grounds forever, and that he does.

I am Arlington National Cemetery.

I am home to fallen servicemen from every war in U.S. history. I grieve with more than 25 new families every day as they lay their loved ones to rest.

Four and a half million people walk my acres each year. My visitors often hear the firing of three rifle volleys in the distance, witness a horse-drawn caisson passing by carrying an American flag-drapped casket, feel a lump in their throat as a lone bugler plays the 24 lingering notes of Taps.

I am witness to the father who lays stones on the graves that flank his son, in hopes that even in the beyond all sides are covered. And to the mother who cries endless tears into my soil.

I am a living tribute to our nation's past and how it continues to thrive through the service and sacrifice of those willing to dedicate their life to its ideals.

I am Arlington National Cemetery. Long may I live.