Friday, May 28, 2010

Arlington National Cemetery, Section 60, May 28, 2010

I wasn't sure I would be able to visit Section 60 at Arlington National Cemetery before Memorial Day this year, but I just came from there.

I was taking a cab to my hotel in Crystal City from the American Gold Star Mother's headquarters over near some embassies. On a whim, I asked my cab driver to stop at ANC. I have a pass, so it's easy to drive onto the grounds; the guards pass you right through, because they know that people who have a pass earned it the hard way by having a loved one buried at our national cemetery. The cab driver seemed overwhelmed with Arlington, at the massive size and number of white stones so symmetrically arranged; he had never visited. I realized I had never been to Ken's grave alone, so this visit was special to me, too.

Section 60 was fairly empty, much different than it will be on Monday. The flag-in ceremonies had taken place on Thursday, in preparation of this oh so important American holiday, a small American flag waving proudly in front of each headstone. The humidity was stifling and memories of Ken overwhelmed me. Why was his name on a headstone? WHY? It's been 6 years and you would think that I would get used to it, but I haven't. I know for certain I never will, no matter how many years pass.

The irony of Ken's death on Memorial Day isn't lost on me; it could have happened any other day. 1Lt Ken Ballard loved being a soldier serving his country. I hope those who knew Ken or who learned about him since his death, will take a minute on Memorial Day, to remember Ken and honor his service, as well as those who fell before him.