Letter to the Editor

Your view: Veteran's Day tribute

Friday, November 10, 2006

Why I want to place the wreath

The tomb of the Unknown Soldier is a very solemn and special place. The tomb is such an incredible place because of what it symbolizes. When God created the earth, He gave man the job of giving everything a name. I think that today it is still man's job and obligation to give everything and everyone a name, even after they die. We each have our own name that identifies who we are to others, and that is how we define ourselves. One common fear, especially that of a soldier, is that once you have died, you and what you have accomplished and sacrificed in your life, will be forgotten. This tomb of the Unknown Soldier recognizes and honors those who would have otherwise been forgotten. They are not forgotten; they are remembered especially for sacrificing the greatest possible thing, their life, for their country.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is dedicated to all people; men and women, young and old, who died serving our wonderful, free country, and were not able to be identified after the wars. This tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. It is guarded, not only as tradition, but also to symbolize that while the Unknown Soldier died guarding and protecting his country, he now has someone to guard and watch over him.

The changing of the guard takes place every one hour in the winter, every 30 minutes in the summer, and every two hours when the Arlington Cemetery is closed. These guards lead a very strict lifestyle. During the changing of the guard ceremony, wreaths may be placed in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The circular shape of the wreath may symbolize the circle of life.

Placing the wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier would be a great honor. While honoring all of the unidentified, fallen soldiers, it would also be a special privilege for me to honor all of my family members who have served in the military. One of my grandfathers served in the Army as a medic in three wars, including World War II. My other grandfather served in the Navy. My father served in Air Force and is a disabled veteran as a result of injuries sustained while he was overseas. My stepfather was in the Marine Corps and served in the First Persian Gulf War. Both of his parents and his brother were also in the military. I am very proud of my relatives who served this country and I would be grateful for the opportunity to pay tribute and show respect for their contributions and for my country.

This country was built on a longing for freedom and, for centuries, the brave heroes of our military have protected it. I feel blessed to live in this country that puts value on every life, including the soldiers whose names are "known but to God." All of those who have served our nation, especially those who died, are heroes and, whether they are identified or not, they will always be remembered by the citizens of this country.

Amber Simeone

Temecula, Calif.

12-year-old stepgrandaughter of Don Carr of Sikeston