Renewal and Remembrance at Arlington Cemetery
Posted July 13, 2016 by Bill Rausch
On Monday I was honored to address the National Association of Landscape Professionals’ 20th annual Renewal and Remembrance event, which brings landscapers from all around the country to D.C. to lend their expertise and hard work to beautify Arlington National Cemetery. This year 400 landscape professionals took time out of their busy lives to to help improve the hallowed grounds where more than 400,000 service members are laid to rest.
On behalf of Got Your 6, it was my pleasure to speak at the morning ceremony alongside of representatives from the association and Arlington National Cemetery. During my talk I stressed the vital importance of having a respectful and beautiful resting place for America’s fallen. As an Iraq War veteran with far too many friends buried in Section 60, I appreciate the grounds as a place for families and friends to remember the fallen, and an opportunity for all our citizens to pay their respects.
Additionally I thanked the volunteers for their dedication to maintaining the grounds through their commitment to service and our nation. Without volunteers, places like Arlington Cemetery cannot exist. This is especially true regarding the skilled volunteers the association provides.
Finally I talked about how one can pay tribute to veterans and fallen service members in a meaningful way. At Got Your 6 we believe that veterans are civic assets and we, as a nation, can honor veterans by empowering them to continue their service in communities across the nation. Veterans should be valued for the leaders, problem solvers and team builders they are and not pitied for the burden many perceive them as. This is illustrated perfectly by the fact that many of the landscape volunteers on Monday were veterans themselves, eager to continue their service to their country.
Words alone cannot express the value of Arlington Cemetery and those who maintain it. As someone who has many close friends buried there, I value the great solace and comfort the cemetery provides. The next time you’re in Washington D.C., take time to visit Arlington and pay your respects. I hope it inspires you to feel pride in our country and honored that so many have died to protect it.
By Bill Rausch, Iraq War veteran and executive director, Got Your 6