The Sounds of Arlington National Cemetery

Arlington National Cemetery is likely to be the setting of at least one scene in my next book Hunger.  So a trip was in order to experience the cemetery.  I’d been before, but it was during summer and crowded with tourists.  This time it was late November.

The most memorable thing: the sounds.  I went right when the cemetery opened and the tourists hadn’t arrived yet, so the sounds stood out.  It started with a suffocating quiet, as if someone were pressing a hand down on the place for silence.

Then the sounds came through, one at a time:

The buzz of a leaf blower.

The wind ruffling the leaves in the trees.

Water spraying against concrete.

The clack of the soldier’s shoes as he pivots in a right face.

A child’s cry as she bounced down some stairs ahead of her parents.

Then the bark of rifle volleys.  One.  Two.  Three.


The Star Spangled Banner.

The soft footfalls of rain.

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