America the Beautiful

There's something about running through our nation's capital on a sunny fall day. The Potomac sparkles, burnt orange leaves drift against a royal blue sky and the monuments remind how this running route is unlike any other. Runners of varying age and talent, cyclists and walkers cross into Virginia with Arlington National Cemetery ahead and around.

Plowing forward, I discern the faintest hint of bagpipes and as I pass a long black stretch limo and tour bus, an older black man in uniform nods -- signaling it's OK for me to go forward towards the Women's Veteran Memorial. I approach with curiosity and emotion, recalling my own service but more importantly the sacrifice women before and after me have made so we may all be free. I ascend a staircase between glass walls allowing me to peer into this sacred place. Upon reaching the top, rows and rows of simple white markers announce the final resting place of heroes.

As I turn, the best of our nation's capital -- Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials and Memorial Bridge beyond the Cemetery -- provoke a spontaneous and unexpected response; I am overcome with the emotion of this moment.

God Bless America.

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