Veterans visit the World War II memorial and Arlington National Cemetery
Thu, 08 Nov 2012 04:05:00 GMT —
The most recent addition in D.C., to military memorials in 2004, stands for World War II....the Greatest Generation.
56 granite columns, split between two half-circles representing the fight in the Atlantic and Pacific, frame the Rainbow Pool, marking the 48 states, seven federal territories, and the District of Columbia.
Next to the Reflecting Pool beneath the Lincoln memorial, A wall of 4,048 gold stars catches the morning light. Each stars represent 100 American lives, symoblic of the almost 4-6-thousand Americans who died during these wars.
Sgt. 1st Class Michael Colon-Mateo is a regular on these flight...sort of the leader of the combined forces. He seen countless lives changed at this site.
"Basically, it's an honor ro see people haven't been forgotten by coming to these memorials."
While we were there, we met Fenhall Deitz, who was from the Netherlands. She wanted to pay tribute to American forces who liberated her country during World War II.
"It's important to remember the American liberators because , we still remember World War II, it's still a part of our lives."
Probably the most emotinal of all memorials isn't really a memorial at all. It's Arlington National Cemetery, home to more than 285-thousand military personnel, and in some cases, family members buried on top of one another. Audie Muprhy, the actor and most decorated solider in World War II is here and currently, there are up to 30 funerals a day.
President and Mrs. Kennedy are here with their eternal flame.
"Puts a good knot in your throat, tear to the eye I know friends there and so it's like visiting old friends," said Colon-Mateo.
But the most telling tribute is at the tomb of the unknown soldier, guarded by the 3rd U-S- Infantry Regiment, and they have never missed a single minute at their 24 hour post since 1937.
Their routine is mesmerizing: The guard.. with his weapon always on the shoulder oppitiste the tomb..walks 21 steps. This alludes to the twenty-one gun salute, the highest honor given to any military or foreign dignitary in America. On the 21st step, the soldier turns and faces the Tomb for 21 seconds. The soldier then turns to face the other way across the Tomb and changes his weapon to the outside shoulder.
After 21 seconds, the first step is repeated.
This is repeated until the soldier is relieved of duty at the Changing of the Guard.
And this ceremony above all others seems to have the biggest impact on veterans especially, like James Hash.
"The changing of the guard, I can't take it. Most memorable, I can't explain it."