Guard at Tomb of Unknown Soldiers (Arlington National Cemetery)
Guard at Tomb of Unknown Soldiers (Arlington National Cemetery)

Three things in military service are important. The first is to exemplify honor. The second is to exemplify honor.  And the third is to exemplify honor.

Arlington National Cemetery
Arlington National Cemetery

This is my response to the Trifecta weekend prompt, in which we were asked to play around with the following quote:

Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.
–Henry James

TrifectaPicture11-1We want you to follow the same general structure of the above quote.  Feel free to change the subject–tell us what’s important about coffee or houseplants or whatever you’d like.  Or else change up the modifier–instead of telling us what’s important, tell us what’s sexy or overrated or pernicious.  Your last three lines should closely echo James’s, giving us the same answer three times.

If you want to read other responses, or submit your own, please click the tricycle picture to view Trifecta’s site.  Have a beautiful weekend!

About the Photos and Prompt Response:

We recently visited Washington DC and spent a little time at Arlington National Cemetery (not too much time, mind you, because cemeteries creep me out a little bit.)  The shear number of headstones made me think about the price of my freedom.

Acknowledging their sacrifice isn’t about condoning war.  Do I think all wars have been necessary?  No.  I would love it if there wasn’t a such thing as war, but I’m not living in fairy tale land.  I know that won’t happen.  I do respect the men (and more recently, women) who believe freedom is worth dying for.

82 thoughts on “Honor

  1. vishalbheeroo June 28, 2013 / 7:59 AM

    so well said. Army discipline is something that make soldiers achieve their target in life and fulfil their obligations so that the nation can sleep in peace at night.

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 8:44 AM

      Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts on it, Vishal!

  2. yerpirate June 28, 2013 / 8:39 AM

    A very heartfelt, interesting and controversial post. As someone who has passed that way, I would say I no-one is willing to give their life or freedom, and that is a con by politicians. However, brothers have given their lives for their regiment, their colleagues and because it happens. This does not take away the powerful emotions expressed in the post at all, but it is true that I – and we – have an utter dislike of armchair politicos who con the public. Army disciplne is not the key. It is the ability to kill, Army discipline has little to do with it. Technical ability does. Army discipline is carried out by buffoons. I’m not being bitter! It’s just a fact no-one want to acknowledge thousands of miles from the war zone. In saying that, I respect your post and position a lot.

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 8:53 AM

      Everyone has different reasons for military service. Some need money for college, others are looking for direction in life, but there are some who so strongly believe in freedom that they want to serve. Yes, I do think that politicians spin facts, or simply make them up, in attempt to drum up public support for war. I’m not even touching the dishonesty of our leaders and I’m not denying that as part of the general public, I have no clue about the inner workings of war.

      I very much agree that many are willing to give their lives for their comrades. My cousin said enough about his times in Afghanistan for me to believe this is true. In those extreme circumstances, bonds are formed that the rest of us can’t begin to understand.

      To clarify, my thoughts when I wrote this were on the individual who commits to become part of the military, not the military establishment as a whole.

      Yerpirate, thank you so much for taking the time to share your opinions on this – I certainly appreciate another point of view. I didn’t set out to write something controversial, I was just avoiding the obvious topics 🙂

  3. Bryan Ens June 28, 2013 / 9:20 AM

    I like the way that “to exemplify honor” has no capitalization in it. The way that is written makes me think of honor as something that is a given for the dedicated military person. It is not done to draw praise or attention, it is just done because it is the right thing to do.

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 12:44 PM

      Yes- honor is something the person has within…the desire to to right, not for recognition or praise. Some have it, some don’t.

      Thanks for stopping by and taking time to express your interpretation, Bryan!

  4. SuziCate June 28, 2013 / 9:44 AM

    Wonderful post, Janna. Arlington National Cemetery is quite a powerful experience. I had chills the entire time and cried during Changing of the Guard. It was moving to see and read the stones.

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 12:51 PM

      It was stunning, SuziCate. We have a Veteran’s Cemetery in Phoenix, but it is not nearly as large and elaborate. We didn’t even walk through the entire cemetery…I would have liked to have seen JFK’s site.

  5. Valerie June 28, 2013 / 10:34 AM

    I love this. It’s especially fitting for my own Uncle Pete who exemplified honor in the worst circumstances during WWII. Thanks for writing this.

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 12:52 PM

      I remember – your blog name used to be For the Love of Pete. I read your bio about him. I admire that you do so much to keep his honor remembered, Valerie. Thanks for reading 🙂

  6. DonettaS June 28, 2013 / 11:08 AM

    That is absolutely touching!! I love it.

  7. Widdershins June 28, 2013 / 11:09 AM

    Unfortunately the disgraceful rape culture, and the silence that has surrounded it until now, that is rampant in the military, has shown that that ‘honour’ needs to be taken out and scrutinised … which is a good thing for all concerned.

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 12:56 PM

      Those actions are shameful and shocking, Widdershins. Those involved should be punished because it is not okay.

      Sadly, not every person (military or not) has honor. I still believe there are many with honor and it seems unfair to let the disgraceful ones ruin what they are about.

  8. Debbie June 28, 2013 / 12:30 PM

    Very appropriate, given the Fourth of July holiday coming up! I’ve never seen Arlington Cemetery, but I’ve been to Vicksburg, and I know exactly what you mean about being fascinated but a bit creeped out, too!

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 12:58 PM

      Doh! Fourth of July slipped my mind when I wrote this, Debbie. I haven’t looked up exactly how many are buried in Arlington but it is a lot. Very sad.

      I’m glad you could relate to the fascination/creep factor. You wouldn’t catch me in a cemetery after dark, though 🙂

  9. Maggie Grace June 28, 2013 / 12:31 PM

    Yes. And those of us not in the military to honor them!

    • jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 12:59 PM

      Thanks, Maggie Grace. I’m glad you stopped by today.

  10. lumdog June 28, 2013 / 12:46 PM

    Clever! That repitition goes to the heart of military training where the soldier is put in situations where there is no time to think. I think you hit two home runs with this one.

  11. jannatwrites June 28, 2013 / 1:01 PM

    Thanks for the comment/compliment, Lumdog. I like to think that the majority of soldiers do live by honor.

  12. @annbennett12 June 28, 2013 / 2:21 PM

    My dad’s family has been military since the Middle Ages. My father always said you fought in a war because no matter what. You did not want the repercussions of losing. Like most southerners, my ancestors fought on both sides.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 6:53 AM

      That is interesting family history, Ann. I imagine there would be some peer pressure to join in.

  13. nrhatch June 28, 2013 / 3:03 PM

    Nice job with the prompt, Janna. Sobering images.

  14. diannegray June 28, 2013 / 3:13 PM

    I’ve never been to Arlington National Cemetery before, Janna but I could imagine it would be an amazing and sobering experience. What a wonderful post for this challenge…

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 6:56 AM

      I’ve never seen anything comparable, Dianne. There is a lot of history in that part of the country.

  15. Eric Alagan June 28, 2013 / 5:37 PM

    Most men think the three important things in life are:

    1. Sex
    2. Sex
    3. Sex

    Not neccessarily in that order 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 6:58 AM

      So simple, but mostly true as near as I can tell. Thanks for reading, Eric!

  16. Sandra June 28, 2013 / 5:40 PM

    How powerful and true, Janna: “The shear number of headstones made me think about the price of my freedom.” I really wish to visit one day, with the kids. The pictures and sentiment fits beautifully with the prompt. I hope you had a nice vacation in DC. I look forward to seeing more pictures from your trip!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 6:59 AM

      I hope you are able to visit someday, Sandra. Pictures don’t really do it justice. I’ll post more about DC soon 🙂

  17. Lance June 28, 2013 / 6:20 PM


    we didn’t make it over to the Tomb because it rained so hard our last day in DC when we there 3 weeks ago.

    I like how you crafted this

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:08 AM

      Thanks, Lance. I hope you do get to see it some time. The rain can be quite heavy there at times (as we found out the day we went to the zoo :))

  18. unevenstevencu June 28, 2013 / 7:37 PM

    really captured the essence of the challenge -exemplify honor to me is just the right choice of words and meaning 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:08 AM

      Thanks, Steven. I appreciate you stopping by to read it!

  19. Draug419 June 28, 2013 / 7:40 PM

    Very nice (:

  20. pattyabr June 28, 2013 / 9:06 PM

    As I mentioned previously we lived in DC area, specifically Arlington, 1990-91. It was a once in a life time experience that left an imprint on our family history. The hallowed ground of Arlington National Cemetery is historical representing our past and present and the cost of freedom.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:11 AM

      I like how you put that, Patty. It was so rich in history…living in the west all my life, I’ve never experienced feeling a strong sense of history.

  21. pattisj June 28, 2013 / 9:53 PM

    I like your take on the Trifecta challenge. I haven’t been to Arlington since I was seven. I’d love to go back one day.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:14 AM

      Thanks, Patti. It was an amazing place. I hope you’ll see it again someday, as your adult eyes might see it differently.

  22. barbara June 28, 2013 / 10:52 PM

    I visited Arlington with my then 14 year old (no 21) grandson and his 8th grade history class. It was an experience I will never forget.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:15 AM

      I’m glad you got to see it Barbara. Pictures can’t really express the vastness of it.

  23. Tara R. June 29, 2013 / 7:31 AM

    I live in an area that is surrounded by military installations – Army, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Honor among the service men and women is absolutely paramount.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:16 AM

      Many of the military people I have met do have a deep sense of honor. Glad you’ve seen the same, Tara.

  24. Renada Styles June 29, 2013 / 8:13 AM

    this is quite true. as the air force says, integrity first.
    a sobering, yet perfect response for the weekend.

  25. kdillmanjones June 29, 2013 / 8:52 AM

    Your words made me pause in silent awe, the way Memorial Day or Veteran’s Day does. Thank you for sharing this!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:18 AM

      I’m glad they made you pause, kdillman. I appreciate you stopping by!

  26. Connor Rickett June 29, 2013 / 8:57 AM

    I’ve been to DC but not Arlington. The Tomb of the Unknown is something I need to see.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:20 AM

      Maybe you’ll travel the country again and see it then, Connor. I’d be surprised if you didn’t do another drive across the country at some point 🙂

      • Connor Rickett June 30, 2013 / 7:49 AM

        I sure hope so! If this next year goes well, from a financial standpoint, it’s a real possibility.

        • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 9:57 PM

          I’ll cross my fingers it happens for you, Connor!

  27. Shawn Pruett June 29, 2013 / 9:20 AM

    We may not have the freedoms we do if this were not true. Brilliant way to factor our upcoming Independence Day celebration into this weekend challenge!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:22 AM

      The timing was completely accidental, Shawn…I was just searching my photos for inspiration and this is what I came up with 🙂 Thanks for reading!

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:23 AM

      Thanks for reading and sharing your comment, Catherine!

  28. Trifecta (@trifectawriting) June 29, 2013 / 5:42 PM

    The sight of all those headstones is staggering. I appreciate the conversations this has spurred, too. Great job with the prompt.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:25 AM

      The cemetery is quite large, this is only a small portion of it. I’ve liked the comments, too…they are the best part of the post 🙂

  29. Dana June 29, 2013 / 7:24 PM

    A-freaking-men!!! (And women!!) Freedom is never “free”… the very least we can do is support those who support us! ❤

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 7:26 AM

      I like your enthusiasm, Dana! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  30. Björn Rudberg (brudberg) June 30, 2013 / 1:09 PM

    Hard for me to relate to this. Coming from a nation were we have almost no military .. I understand the importance of it and the sure tried to make us feel a little when iris service. Mostly it was boring though 😉

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 9:59 PM

      Interesting – I never realized that about Sweden. Less military isn’t exactly a bad thing 🙂 Thanks for stopping by and sharing your comment, Bjorn!

  31. Tom MacInnes (@cobourgcobbie) June 30, 2013 / 7:15 PM

    I have a lot of respect for anyone who performs a service that makes my life better. That ranges from everything from the cook staff who prepare my meal in a restaurant (so I can take a night off from the hot stove at home), all the way to those who venture into dangerous places on behalf of me and my family so that our way of life can be kept safe. Btw, I think that you have navigated your say through all of the comments very well. 🙂

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 10:01 PM

      I like the way you think, Tom. I wish more people thought the way you do 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing your reaction and thoughts based on what I wrote.

    • jannatwrites June 30, 2013 / 10:04 PM

      Yeah, really! I think they exemplify “more pork, please.” Oh, don’t get me started on a political rant, Tina 🙂

  32. Imelda July 1, 2013 / 5:38 PM

    oh WOW!! Great great response, Janna. 🙂

    • jannatwrites July 2, 2013 / 12:16 AM

      Thanks, Imelda. I appreciate you reading it 🙂

  33. Maya Bahl July 2, 2013 / 12:02 PM

    Great Take on the Quote Janna, I wonder if in Henry James’s time your piece would have been pertinent too!

  34. kingmidget July 2, 2013 / 8:46 PM

    I have opposed almost every war and military intervention our country has engaged in during my lifetime. But I have a tremendous amount of respect for the soldiers who lay their lives on the line. Who defend our country. And who make such incredible sacrifices. A couple of years ago we did the D.C. vacation with our kids and I was fortunate enough to do the Arlington Cemetery and be there for the changing of the guard. Such an incredibly moving and honorable ceremony. Thanks for posting this and reminding me of it.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 1:33 AM

      I’m glad you’re able to differentiate the military response from the soldiers. I always feel for the soldiers who are verbally attacked by protestors who are against the war. The whole Arlington experience was sobering. I couldn’t believe how large the cemetery was. I’m glad my post helped you remember your experience there. I appreciate you reading and taking time to share your thoughts/reaction to this piece, Kingmidget!

  35. rerodan July 3, 2013 / 3:41 AM

    Great post…Thomas Jefferson said eternal vigilance is the price of liberty….

    I would like to visit Gettysburg, Arlington and the numerous war graves in Europe.

    • jannatwrites July 4, 2013 / 1:29 AM

      We didn’t get to Gettysburg, but would have liked to have visited. I’ve never been to Europe, but I can imagine there is lots to see with its rich history. Thanks for visiting, Rerodan!

  36. Rachael July 4, 2013 / 5:50 PM

    Nice response Janna, and fitting for this week’s holiday 🙂

    On a side note, I am not sure why, but I *love* cemeteries…

    • jannatwrites July 5, 2013 / 12:54 AM

      Really? That’s an interesting fact about cemeteries. I’ve never met anyone who loved them. Thanks for stopping by, Rachael!

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