By Randy J Cole http://www.randomstoneproductions.com/
As I write this I am listening to the sound track to the movie “Gods and Generals,” beautiful music and for me thought provoking. This December I shall take my two youngest sons to this nation’s capitol. They will see things that I saw for the first time last year. I hope that although young, 8 and 11, they will understand and embrace the importance of what they will see. It will be for these two boys of vastly different heritage, a lesson in life as well as history. We shall visit the resting place of heroes from all walks of life; No matter how high or how low in military rank they are all represented at Arlington. Visible from the entrance is the massive American flag that flutters on a hill in front of Arlington House, the former residence of General Robert E. Lee. We will walk up that hill and on the way; stop at the eternal flame that burns at President Kennedy’s final resting place.
We shall talk about the Cuban missile crisis that represents the closest this nation has come to annihilation and how he made the right choices to stop it. We will talk about November 22, 1963 and how America watched as this president’s term came to an abrupt end and how he was laid to rest here before us.
We will walk further to the Tomb of the Unknown Solder. I will watch as my sons count the twenty one steps, the twenty one seconds and hear the snap of the metal on the shoes of the Old Guard as they honor the fallen. We will stand before memorials to fallen astronauts, and honor the simple grave of a small man by the name of Audy Murphy.
We shall enter Arlington House and admire the grandeur of this beautiful place. At the back of this home I will take my boys by the hand and lead them into the slave quarters which are vastly different from the pillared mansion that shadows this dark place. I will study the faces of these brothers carefully and ask them to share their thoughts. These young men are insightful and will have important questions to ask as well as things to say.
We shall go to the city of D.C. and stand at the feet of Lincoln sheltered from the falling snow seated on his marble chair. Although this man is long gone and made but of cold stone, his presence is strong and I know my boys will feel it as I do. We shall visit Fords Theater and look up to the box seat where an angry actor destroyed this great man but not his ideals. As we view the capitol building and the white house we will walk on a tree lined trail next to the reflection pond that stretches from the Lincoln Memorial to the World War II monument. Along the way we will not avoid the homeless who sleep under these trees, I want my boys to see them so that they know and understand that purchasing the newest video game isn’t really all that important in the big picture of things.
We shall walk to the massive building that houses America’s most important documents. These brothers will stand side by side and view the Constitution. They will look in the dim light through the thick glass at the Declaration of Independence, my youngest son, who is eight, will smile, for he is a descendant of one of the signers of this document and has read it from start to finish. One day I hope my other son will have a chance to view the Proclamation of Emancipation which rest in the New York State Library, he being the descendant of black slaves. These two brothers although different in appearance and of blood are still brothers just the same. They love each other and at times hate each other as most siblings do.
The last stop shall be at the nations Christmas tree. There in glow of it’s many lights we shall bow our heads and ask that all brothers and sisters in this world find the ability to live under one sky like the brothers two. Even though different, these two boys will learn to grow into young men under one roof. As we return to our Montana home, I hope that my boys will be thinking about what they have seen. I hope that they realize and appreciate the sacrifices made by so many over the last 230 years so Americans may all celebrate Christmas as well as other holidays that many Americans take for granted. From the brothers two and I, may you all have a safe and peaceful holiday season.