Attending the 2013 Easter Service at Arlington National Cemetery -Witness the Best Sunrise Service
Every Easter morning, my family gets up extra early, adds extra layers of clothes to keep warm and we attend the sunrise service at Arlington National Cemetery. This is one of the most amazing and awe-inspiring events held at Arlington all the year.
Thousands of people, including dignitaries, senior military officers, veterans and people from around the world visit on a cool (many times COLD!) Easter morning to celebrate Christ's leaving the tomb. His sacrifice tells a powerful story to Christians throughout the world.
There are only three services held in the Amphitheater that are open to the public; Memorial Day, Veteran's Day and Easter. Held in the open air of this beautiful building, the early morning event is one that you will never forget.
Create a memory that will last a lifetime and take your family to participate in this touching service.
Details of the Service
The nondenominational service begins at 0630 on Easter morning, but check the schedule each year on the official website. There are several parking areas and complimentary shuttle bus service is offered from the parking lots to the amphitheater beginning about 30 minutes prior.
One of the Armed Forces will have a band, orchestra or choir present to provide in the prelude before the actual service begins. Hearing these songs in the crisp morning air sets the mood for the whole ceremony.
I have always been impressed by the service members chosen to sing or play instruments as solos during the service. These are our fine men and women who have dedicated their lives to defending our country and have volunteered for these elite positions. Their performances on this Holy morning at this special place are always emotional.
As a special treat, white doves are released towards the end of the service. This symbolism is a perfect touch for such a special service. Get your camera ready - these make gorgeous shots in the rising sun.
Tips and Advice
This sunrise service is absolutely wonderful for people of all ages. Even young children will remember the proceedings for years. There are a few tips:
- Dress warm - Wear layers of clothes. Bring Gloves and earmuffs.
- Bring a warm blanket - You will be seated for a while before the service begins. The blanket will keep you warm and may serve as insulation against the cold seats.
- Come early - It does take some time to park, walk to the shuttle bus and transit to the amphitheater. Give yourself plenty of time.
- Take off your hat - This service is a no-hat, no-salute area and wearing hats is not considered appropriate. Honor the traditions.
- Use the restroom before the service - There is a restroom along the side of the amphitheater. You don't want to get up in the middle of the service if you can avoid it.
Photography is allowed, but tripods and use of lighting equipment are not authorized without permission from the supervisors.
Also, gravesides are allowed to be photographed, but do not photograph mourners. If someone is visiting a gravesite, ask permission before capturing their image in a photo or video. Many people will gladly talk about their loved ones and may be willing to participate, but use your best judgment to honor those families who lost their veterans.
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