In a time of terrible politics and problems that seem to have no solutions, Arlington National Cemetery reminds us that we are better than this. Courageous men and women gave their lives for the rest of us to do great things with ours. People with the last names of Dutton, Sylvester, Ainsworth, Dolan, Valiante, Mendel and Grimmer. Presidents, Brigadier Generals and Rear Admirals. Men who won Purple Hearts and a teacher who wanted to go into space. Wives named Eliza, Pearl and Mary and a son named Gene Stuart.
There are Memorials to the Challenger and Columbia space shuttle astronauts and the USS Maine, sunk in Cuba and started the Spanish-American War, and 624 acres filled with straight rows of the graves of men and women who fought in all of our wars.
Soldiers in spotless uniforms with shoes that click and shine walk 21 steps, spin on their heel and pace 21 steps the other way. A step every 21 seconds. Never turning their back on Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. Standing straight, 24 hours a day, every day. Any weather.
A memorial to Robert F. Kennedy reminds us with a speech he gave in Cape Town South Africa in 1966, that we can still stand up for ideals and improve the lives of others.
“It is from numberless diverse acts of courage and belief that human history is shaped. Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current which can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
Even when politics seems hopeless, we the people can still give off ripples of hope and shape human history.