Lessons of History (30 Days of Gratitude: Day 28)

“History is a guide to navigation in perilous times. History is who we are and why we are the way we are. ”

~ David McCullough

Grateful to those who recognize the lessons that history leaves for us, and have the courage to speak truth to power. May they continue to do so, and may we always find the strength to join them.

~ Kat

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

Walking the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery, I yearned for the assurance that we will move forward as a nation toward peace.

Arlington National Cemetery

The wars throughout America’s history have shaped the thoughts and aspirations of generations, and touched the lives of millions around the world.

U.S. National World War II Memorial
U.S. National World War II Memorial

The monuments in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C., often memorialize or reflect upon war.  Their words and images ran through my mind as we walked the rolling hills of the cemetery.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Korean War Veterans Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial
Vietnam Veterans Memorial

While Arlington National Cemetery also contains the graves of notable American heroes or other people of influential significance, unrelated to any military conflict, I could only think of the sorrow that war brings as I surveyed row after row of white marble markers.

Arlington National Cemetery

The old trees cradled some markers in their gnarled roots, while their broad canopies kept watch over others.  Each marker had a story to tell — a life cut short, a life of love, a life of loss.

Arlington National Cemetery

Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ~ Arlington National Cemetery
Tomb of the Unknown Soldier ~ Arlington National Cemetery

Some markers were left without names, a particularly poignant reminder of the stories some never lived to tell.

Arlington National Cemetery

When promising lives are cut short, so often you hear, “let them not die in vain.”  Tragic circumstances often compel people to come together and move forward in a concerted effort to create a better tomorrow.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial
Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial

Just as Martin Luther King, Jr. looked forward with hope during the darkest of days, so must we.  As we reflect upon our history, we carry hope forward, seeking wisdom from the often costly mistakes and tragic experiences of our past.

Arlington National Cemetery

Ciao! ~ Kat

This post was in response to the Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge.  ”Forward” was this week’s theme.  Everyone is welcome to join in the Challenge; further details on how to participate and links to others’ responses are found here.