We who are interred in this Tomb of Unknowns in Arlington National Cemetery are forever anonymous. You will never know our names, nor will you see images of our faces. Whether we were black or white, of Asian, Hispanic or Native American descent is of no consequence, for in our hearts we were all Americans.
We deeply valued the freedoms bestowed upon us by our Founders, and God, which have made the United States of America the most exceptional country in the world. We served this Nation to the best of our abilities, and when we were needed, we made the ultimate sacrifice for the country that we loved so dearly.
Regardless of weather, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, we listen to the twenty-one steps taken by the sentries of the Old Guard. We watch them as they salute us to show that we have not been forgotten. We witness the hundreds of thousands of visitors who come every year to show their respect and reverence for our past deeds, and we have felt gratified by their presence through the many decades.
But we also feel a sense of trepidation. It is a fear that all is not right with our Nation in this year of 2021. And we weep. Not for ourselves, but for our impossibly divided country. Have we battled fascist dictators and laid down our lives in the process, only to have our homeland descend into chaos and lawlessness? Do blacklists and censorship have a place in the United States of America that we defended to the death? Are we to believe that Religious persecution in any form is acceptable in a country where every person is created equal and every human life is supremely valued, including the unborn? Should we accept the premise that placing our Nation in an untenable position by amassing tens of trillions of dollars in debt that cannot possibly be repaid, is the best course for our Nation to take? And worse yet, should that debt be held by a country that would imprison its own citizens in re-education camps, and allow a lethal virus to spread to the rest of the world for its own economic gain? Should not the Democrat and Republican parties of our great country be ashamed of themselves for allowing these conditions to deteriorate to this level? We are of the belief that there is no excuse, not one, for any political party’s interests to be put before the good of this country.
We ask these questions not to cause dissention or strife, but as a wake-up call to all Americans of every background and belief. We have done our duty, now you must do yours. You must do what is right for the United States of America first, not as an afterthought. Resort to debate, but not violence.
Remember that we are all Americans with equal rights and we are to be governed under the same equally applied laws. A country without fairness, equality and justice is just another China, Russia, or Venezuela.
We, the Unknown Soldiers of Arlington, are but a small fraction of those who have died fighting for the rights and freedoms that you enjoy today. We ask that you all come together as Americans and reconcile your differences. Do this so that we may continue to hear the sentries of the Old Guard marching those twenty-one steps in front of our Tomb two hundred years from now.
Brian Goff, of East Durham, has resided in Greene County for 70 years. His family has had a presence there for more than 200 years. He worked for G.E. Plastics in Selkirk for 30 years and is now retired.