Life and Death

The other day, I got to do something I never do.

Reflecting Pool DC

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

My dear friend came into town and we took one of those double decker bus tours.  You know how it is, you live in a tourist place like D.C., and you don’t really get to see it until guests arrive from out of town.  What a treat.  Someone else did all the driving, we were deposited literally in front of every important monument without having to hike a million miles or search for a parking spot.

Even better, from the top deck, on this incredibly warm winter day, we had an elevated view and a tour guide narrating what we saw.


Heaven a top a tour bus

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase View from bridge crossing into Arlington National Cemetery.

The best part was that we were able to spend time together without either one of us fussing.  No one was cooking, or scrambling to do dishes, or trying to figure out where to go.  We just went, and did, relaxing and laughing together.

Arlington National Cemetery

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

By the time we reached Arlington National Cemetery, I was too exhausted to move.  I guess my back isn’t what it used to be, and I told my friend to go ahead while I waited for her.  After all, I’ve seen the place before and why should she miss it because of me?

There in the stillness, the tombstones almost seemed to speak.  Husbands and wives buried next to each other, some men lying all alone.  Every now and then, a child was buried there, too.  All of them were so darn young.

Lively teens at Arlington National Cemetery

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

A plaque from the French declared, “N’oubliez jamais.”  We will never forget.  But so many of these people are forgotten.  Their family tree dies out, and they blend into an amorphous group representing a time of sacrifice and courage.  And we, like the French, often forget what they sacrificed to make us the “Greatest Nation on Earth.”

Just before closing, a group of teenaged students came barreling down the road.  Their youthful energy was astounding.  Leaping, laughing, running — there in the cemetery .  It wasn’t that they were being disrespectful, they were just so full of life.  I’m sure even the specters that haunt the place envied their vivacity and smiled at their hijinx.

Geese over Arlington

(c) 2013 Diana Belchase

After all, isn’t this why all these brave people gave up their lives?  So future generations could run and play and thrive? Believing theirs was the war to end all wars.  Believing their sacrifice could make it better for generations to come.

Maybe that is why so many of us here are obsessed with writing and reading suspense and mysteries.  We face horror squarely, deal justice in a world that is not always just, and we laugh at death as our characters go on — against supremely terrifying odds — to live, to succeed, and to love.

And the winner of Rebecca York’s Harlequin Intrigue, Her Baby’s Father, is … Rolynn Anderson!  Please contact me within 10 days to collect your prize.

Up next is our Scrivener-famous Gwen Hernandez interviewing Ella Grace on Tuesday.   Ella Grace is the pen name for NYT Bestselling Author Christy Reece.  Find out why she’s got a new name and about her new series!

About Diana Belchase

I am an author, who won the Golden Heart for my suspense novel "The Spy in the Mirror" and was a Golden Heart finalist, once again, for my second novel, "The Spy in the Harem." I am also a triple Daphne Du Maurier finalist for three other books. Please follow me at my website:, or friend/follow me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter or on my YouTube Channel: See you there!

Posted on March 13, 2013, in Diana Belchase and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 17 Comments.

  1. Diana, thanks for making me stop and think about what’s important this morning.

  2. The view of the city and memorials is spectacular too–a fitting resting place to honor those men and women who have given so much for our country. Did you all know that March is Women in the Military Month?

    Congrats, Rolynn!

  3. What a nice tribute, Diana! We’ve spent a fair amount of time doing the tourist thing in D.C. Knowing we’re going to move again at some point always helps spur us to see as much as we can when we live somewhere. This spring I want to take some of the neighborhood walking tours to learn more about the less-touristy parts of the District.

  4. Such beautiful pictures, Diana, and I love your comparison of the teenagers backdropped against such incredible sacrifice.
    I’ve never taken one of those tours, but maybe I’ll take the kids this summer. It sounds like fun and not a lot of driving on my part. I hate to drive in DC now with all those red light cameras.
    Thanks for a lovely way to start the morning!

  5. Wonderful post, Diana! Thank you!

  6. Lovely, thoughtful post and your pictures brought shivers, Diana!
    Makes me proud to be American and guilty that I, also, don’t make an effort to get up there very often. (No excuse either, my brother lives one town over.)

    Thanks for the surprise blog about the important things in life.

  7. Very thought provoking and poignant. Your pictures say so much. Thanks for a lovely post!

  8. Wonderful post, Diana. Thanks for making us remember. Your last paragraph was especially heartwarming. Your words: “deal justice in a world that is not always just” made me sit a little taller at my computer screen. I’m sharing this post.

    • Marsha, you cannot know how much your words mean to me. I just sent a note to someone saying that I worry that some days on my blog I feel as if I’m whispering in the dark. Then, here you come and make me feel like a million bucks. Thank you so much!


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