The facade of Memorial Amphitheater in Arlington National Cemetery
Today is, of course, Veterans Day. As I write this, a wreath-laying ceremony is taking place at the Tomb of the Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery, which will be followed by a ceremony in the Memorial Amphitheater.
The Amphitheater has become my favorite spot when I visit the cemetery, in large part because it has this statement inscribed inside the apse:
"When we assumed the soldier we did not lay aside the citizen"
It is a quote from George Washington's June 26, 1775, letter to the Provincial Congress, and it perfectly expresses the proper place of the military in a democratic society. I think it is an impeccably American sentiment to inscribe in a memorial to our nation's veterans.