Life and Death

The other day, I got to do something I never do.

Reflecting Pool DC

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

My dear friend came into town and we took one of those double decker bus tours.  (Click here to see photos better) You know how it is, you live in a tourist place like D.C., and you don’t really get to see it until guests arrive from out of town.  What a treat.  Someone else did all the driving, we were deposited literally in front of every important monument without having to hike a million miles or search for a parking spot.

Even better, from the top deck, on this incredibly warm winter day, we had an elevated view and a tour guide narrating what we saw.

Heaven.

Heaven a top a tour bus

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase View as we approached the bridge to Arlington National Cemetery

The best part was that we were able to spend time together without either one of us fussing.  No one was cooking, or scrambling to do dishes, or trying to figure out where to go.  We just went, and did, relaxing and laughing together.

Korean War Memorial

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase Korean War Memorial

By the time we reached Arlington National Cemetery, I was too exhausted to move.  I guess my back isn’t what it used to be, and I told my friend to go ahead while I waited for her.  After all, I’ve seen the place before; why should she miss it because of me?

Arlington National Cemetery

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase Arlington National Cemetery

There in the stillness, the tombstones almost seemed to speak.  Husbands and wives buried next to each other, some men lying all alone.  Every now and then, a child was buried there, too.  All of them were so darn young.

A plaque from the French declared, “N’oubliez jamais.”  We will never forget.  But so many of these people are forgotten.  Their family tree dies out, and they blend into an amorphous group representing a time of sacrifice and courage.  And we, like the French, often forget what they sacrificed to make us the “Greatest Nation on Earth.”

Just before closing, a group of teenaged students came barreling down the road.  Their youthful energy was astounding.  Leaping, laughing, running — there in the cemetery .  It wasn’t that they were being disrespectful, they were just so full of life.  I’m sure even the specters that haunt the place envied their vivacity and smiled at their hijinx.

Lively teens at Arlington National Cemetery

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase Celebrating Life at Arlington National Cemetery

After all, isn’t this why all these brave people gave up their lives?  So future generations could run and play and thrive? Believing theirs was the war to end all wars.  Believing their sacrifice could make it better for generations to come.

Geese over Arlington

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase Geese over Arlington National Cemetery

Maybe that is why so many of us here are obsessed with writing and reading suspense and mysteries.  We face horror squarely, deal justice in a world that is not always just, and we laugh at death as our characters go on — against supremely terrifying odds — to live, to succeed, and to love.

And the winner of Rebecca York’s Harlequin Intrigue, Her Baby’s Father, is … Rolynn Anderson!  Please contact me within 10 days to collect your prize.

8 thoughts on “Life and Death

  1. Gorgeous photos and fab commentary, Diana. I especially loved the ‘cloud formations’; it sent plot bunnies running up and down my spine!
    Thanks tons for the inspirations 🙂

    • Glad you liked it, Bella. Cannot take credit for what the Man Upstairs wrought, though. I was just lucky to snap in the right direction. Happy you were inspired, because that is what this is all about.

      XO

  2. Amazing where being a tourist in your own town can lead you 🙂 Lovely images and words, Diana! In September I had the pleasure of my first DC visit, and as a veteran, I was awestruck! Life is such a precious thing. Thanks for taking me back.

  3. Loved the photo’s….loved your commentary on our youth and all the sacrifices our brave soldiers made so that our children can run freely and laugh….love the city…..will definitely come and visit again.

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