It was a crisp fall day at Arlington National Cemetery yesterday when Army veteran David Brown went to visit two friends who were laid to rest there. While the vet was paying respects to his fallen heroes, he noticed another man all alone in the cemetery not too far, but away from all the cameras. Brown was intrigued by who this lone man was and who he was visiting which prompted Brown to walk over and speak to the lonely man in the cemetery. As Brown got closer to the single gentleman, he was taken aback when he discovered who he was and that was just the beginning.
Veterans Day is a holiday that honors our nation’s veterans that are both living and who have passed away. It is for that reason that Arlington National Cemetery is a popular destination for many people to visit to pay respect to our nation’s heroes. One of those people who attended the famed cemetery was Army veteran David Brown who has two friends laid to rest there. While the majority of the visitors stayed close to President John F. Kennedy’s Eternal Flame and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, Brown was in Section 60, where recently fallen service members are buried.
The scene in this area was much quieter with families scattered near the grave markers of their loved ones paying their respects. That is where Brown’s two friends were laid to rest describing them in a Facebook post as “one of whom hardened me into a soldier,” and the other “helped soften me into a leader.”
That is when Brown noticed a lone man in the corner of the cemetery away from everyone. Brown began to walk closer to the gentleman, and that is when he saw who it was. The man was retired U.S. Marine Corps General James Mattis, who is secretary of defense under President Donald Trump. At first, Brown stated that he was surprised to see Mattis there, but then after further reflection, he realized he could not imagine him being anywhere else.
This morning, I visited a quiet, out-of-the-way plot of Arlington National Cemetery known as Section 60. Being Veterans…
Here is more from Brown’s Facebook post:
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.
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.
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.
Soon after the chance encounter with Mattis, Brown was interviewed by IJR, and this is what he had to say about meeting with the famed retired general.
He explained that the general conversed with everyone “like an old friend,” and never did the majority of the talking, but instead chose to listen.
“He was just as comfortable talking to an Army major in dress blues as he was a service member’s child, and the ability to transition seamlessly from one particular type of loss to another is something I’ve never seen in anyone else, military or otherwise,” Brown told IJR.
While the encounter was certainly meaningful to everyone he spoke to on Saturday, Brown explained that Mattis’s actions also have an effect on the military as a whole.
“I think it’s important that the boots on the ground feel like there’s someone at the top who has their backs,” he said. “I’ve always heard that a leader can serve the people above him or the people below him, but rarely can he do both at once. I think every individual service member knows that General Mattis is looking out for them first.”
He added that people in uniform need to be able to believe “they have leaders at the highest levels that they can trust.”
We all know that Mattis is a well-respected general and rightfully so, but hearing this stunning account just adds more credence to the stories. Mattis is not only a strong leader but he knows how to connect with all people from all walks of life which explains why so many that have served under him admire him. President Trump knew exactly what he was doing when he tapped General Mattis to the position of Secretary of Defense and it because he is what embodies what makes our country great.
Source:The Daily Caller,mpolitical.com