Before leaving the Arlington Cemetery for good we decided to go to the Memorial Gate to see the Women In Military Service For America memorial. When we walked through the doors of the gate we also walked into a reception/memorial for Michael Anthony Jordan. This fast tracked us past the display on women and pushed us to the Faces of the Fallen exhibition.
This was completely overwhelming. There are more than 1300 portraits of those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq — all painted by American artists. Each painting has a little plaque in front of it with the name of the soldier and a few other personal details. What really struck me was how young many of them were; some just 18 and 19 years old.
The display takes up most of the memorial gate; and, as you walk around looking at the faces you see coins, flags, memorabilia, flowers and personal messages left behind by families and friends. It’s an amazing tribute.
When we left the cemetery for good I felt as though someone had taken a handful of cotton balls and stuffed them into my mouth. I can’t really verbalize how I felt; but, I kept thinking that somewhere along the way something has been lost… something more than lives.