By Emily Mihalik, Pentagram Staff WriterApril 14, 2017
As the sun dawns Easter morning, worshippers worldwide will honor the resurrection of Christ.
At Arlington National Cemetery, early risers can experience an annual tradition. The Sunrise Service at the Memorial Amphitheater is one not to miss. Hosted this year on Sunday, April 16, by Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall Commander, Col. Patrick M. Duggan, the service is free and open to the public.
For Christians, Easter recalls the morning that Mary discovers Jesus's empty tomb and the hope for resurrection. The service at Arlington brings the message home. The location is "overwhelming," said Navy Rear Adm. Margaret Kibben. As the Chief of Chaplains, Kibben said she has the honor of delivering this year's Easter message. She elaborates, "(The Arlington Cemetery Service) is a wonderful opportunity to proclaim God's victory over death."
Deputy Garrison Chaplain, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Chaplain (Capt.) Mark Worrell agrees, describing it as awe-striking to "walk through a place where we honor the dead and recognize the potential of resurrection." When asked what to look forward to, he smiles, "My favorite part is the trumpet call; it is a reminder of God's call to (bring his people home)."
Performances by the U.S. Army Band and Chorus amplify the beauty of the morning's message. Alongside the trumpet call, traditional favorites include "Amazing Grace" and the "Hallelujah Chorus."
Francisco Rivera, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall executive officer who has attended several services agrees. Rivera describes the experience as "uplifting…as you face the amphitheater the sun rises before your eyes." He said that there is always something unique about each service. Past services have featured surprises such as flowers and flying doves.
For those attending, please make sure to plan accordingly. The service is popular, and seating is available on a first-come, first served basis. The service will begin with a prelude by the U.S. Army Band, "Pershing's Own," at 6:15 a.m. The call to worship begins at 6:30 a.m.
The general public may enter Arlington National Cemetery via Memorial Avenue and park at the cemetery's Visitors Center parking lot. Parking will be free from 5 to 9 a.m. on Easter Sunday. A free shuttle service will transport all guests from the parking lot.
DoD cardholders may enter Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall and park in the Tri-Services parking lot (the large lot closest to the Old Post Chapel) for access to shuttles. Parking is available in the parking lot across from the Spates Community Club for DoD ID cardholders who wish to walk to the amphitheater from the Selfridge Gate.
Please note that backpacks will not be allowed in the cemetery for the service; blankets, baby strollers and water in clear, plastic bottles are allowed. For more information visit https://www.army.mil/jbmhh .