Veterans Day is a holiday that honors our current and past military veterans. For that reason, Arlington National Cemetery, where many of our nation’s military heroes have been laid to rest is a popular destination for people looking to pay their respects to the military.
Army veteran David Brown was at the cemetery to pay his respects to two deceased friends.
He ended up with a story to tell that has been shared nearly 60,000 times on Facebook since then.
Brown describes the mood of the day and why he was at Arlington:
This morning, I visited a quiet, out-of-the-way plot of Arlington National Cemetery known as Section 60. Being Veterans Day, the Cemetery was packed with tourists and volunteers, schoolchildren and general well-wishers. The crowds at Arlington’s main gate jostled shoulder-to-shoulder to see the Tomb of the Unknowns, or visit Kennedy’s Eternal Flame. Some had arms full of flags to plant, row by row, stone by stone.
These aren’t the people you see at Section 60.
Section 60 is a newer plot of Arlington National Cemetery, where most of the recent American casualties of war are laid to rest. I visit this plot because two men I knew were buried here, about eight rows apart. One of those men hardened me into a soldier; the other helped soften me into a leader.
That’s when Brown spotted another lone man walking among the graves of the recently deceased military members:
While visiting their graves, I met a lone man walking the stones at Section 60. Far away from cameras and fanfare, Defense Secretary James Mattis spent his Veterans Day with the recent fallen. I watched him listen patiently to stories from surviving friends and family members. An old man visiting his Marine son’s grave told Mattis that he was his boy’s hero; the Warrior Monk smiled sadly and said that the old man’s son was one of his.
Then Brown breaks down why Mattis is one of our countries great leaders and so respected by his peers:
James Mattis is one of those living legends who transcends politics and ideology. His job is his life, and that job is the welfare of this country and its service members. This Veterans Day, I send a special thanks to James Mattis, for not taking today off.
Mattis has long been respected among his peers, politicians, and Marines for his intelligence, demeanor and, when required, the ability to swiftly defeat his enemies. This encounter will only add to the general’s legend.
Here is Brown’s full post, embedded from Facebook: