Saturday, December 08, 2007

Gorgeous Arlington Cemetery Cannot Disguise Horrid Effects of War

I prefer peace over war, and funny movies over scary ones. For that reason I was unsure if I wanted to visit the Arlington Cemetery in Washington DC, USA, where they burry all those who represented the United States in some war, or served the American army, naval, and/or air forces; there are currently 290,000 veterans along with their family members buried along the cemetery’s 107 hectares of land.

Despite my low desire to visit the cemetery, the outing was amazing: from afar, the headstones resembled white flowers over an perfectly trimmed grass carpet, and the Arlington House shone as the sun hid behind the hill where the Kennedy family is buried.

As if this wasn’t enough, we had the opportunity to witness the change of guard in front of The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier; a rigid and meticulous ceremony so structured that it gave goose bumps to its spectators.

While I observed the soldiers’ synchronized movements I imagined the precision needed to undertake military maneuvers and tactics successfully, and I turned uncomfortable watching how these boys slowly became less and less human.

Now I ask myself, do soldiers need to dehumanize themselves to avoid suffering from the psychological effects that war causes people, or are they only acting this way for the ceremony?

I am not sure, but watching this robotic ceremony and the large number of victims buried in this place (approximately 24 people are buried daily), helped accentuate my feeling of rejection towards war.

The cemetery’s park is gorgeous, but it is not beatiful enough to disguise the horrid result of war.

How to get there:
Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington VA 22211
Estación de metro: Arlington Cementery
Teléfono: (703) 607-8000

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