"I never thought that this is where I'd settle down.
I thought I'd die an old man back in my hometown.
They gave me this plot of land, me and some other men, for a job well done. ...
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I'm proud to be on this peaceful piece of property.
I'm on sacred ground, and I'm in the
best of company. ...
I can rest in peace. I'm one of the chosen ones.
I made it to Arlington."
- Trace Adkins, "Arlington"
Long a symbol of the pride, respect and sorrow Americans feel for their fallen brethren, Arlington National Cemetery honors those service members who fought and died for our freedom and stateside safety.
Being awarded a resting place in Arlington is the highest final honor a soldier may receive and one their families talk about for generations.
One of Arlington's hallmarks is the Tomb of the Unknowns, which represents those service members who paid the sacrifice of their lives, less any glory of having their names known.
The Tomb of the Unknowns is a sobering reminder that our brave service members die in foreign lands, are buried in makeshift cemeteries and are sometimes lost to history when they become separated from their identification tags.
So it was an honor for the junior class at SouthLake Christian Academy to attend the wreath placement ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns last month.
While the entire junior class was present for the ceremony, four juniors - Tara Batts, Jennifer Cernuto, Peter Kvilhaug and Ryan Scott - were chosen by the principal to participate in the ceremonial wreath placement.
"We considered it such a great honor for him," said Vickie Scott, Ryan Scott's mother. Scott added that the day of the ceremony was rainy and gloomy, truly reflective of the somber memorial event.
It was a "solemn but proud" moment when the students participated in the wreath placement ceremony, said Amy Murray, the activities coordinator at SouthLake.
Murray acknowledges that the current war - the first of great length since Vietnam - also impacts today's high school students. It is the first time in decades that a teenager can open up the obituaries and see remembrances of fallen soldiers, some of whom were teenagers themselves.
The trip to Arlington, Murray said, "shows that our young children are aware of young people giving up their lives for our freedom." Being in attendance at the wreath placement ceremony helped the students understand and feel the importance of what our soldiers do.
"I don't think until they got there, they realized the impact" it would have on them, she said .
Murray said she was glad the SouthLake students had the chance to visit Arlington.
"It's a lifetime memory," she said.
Indeed, for that brief moment, the SouthLake students got to honor our chosen ones, those soldiers who truly are in the best of company.
After all, they made it to Arlington.