Wednesday, October 15, 2008

section 65: arlington national cemetery

this week, hbo has been airing a documentary on section 60 at arlington. this is where the soldiers from operation iraqi freedom are being buried.

it is right across the street from section 65, where my papa and mama are buried. at both of their burials, it was winter and the ground was frozen, and there was ice everywhere.

after mom died, i went to arlington relatively frequently. i would sit on the ground and sometimes talk, but mostly just be. sometimes papa and i went together. i know that he went a lot more than i did. but i went whenever i wanted to. and i seldom cried. i didn't need to, i guess. it was comforting somehow.

after papa died, i moved away. i've been back to northern virginia many times since then. i've driven past the cemetery many times. i've only gone back inside once.

in december 2006, papa said, "next year for christmas, i want to take a wreath to the cemetery and put it on sara's grave." in january 2007, he was buried with sara. in december 2007, i took two wreaths to arlington.

and i don't know if i can go back. being there, seeing the headstone, was not comforting any more. it broke my heart all over again.

the flag that covered my papa's coffin hangs on my wall...white stars on a field of blue. i miss him.



"it is good to remember that we need each other greatly, you and i, more than much of the time we dare to imagine, more than most of the time we dare to admit." - fredrick buechner

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