A truly amazing young lady
Arlington, Virginia (CNN) — Alison Spann walks purposefully behind the marble headstones, just as her father taught her.
He brought her here, to Arlington National Cemetery, as a girl. He pointed out the names of the dead and the wars that took their lives. He told her to look around and appreciate the sacrifice of the fallen.
The two walked together along the rows of headstones and turned when they got to a grave they were visiting. It was the proper way to walk in a cemetery, he told her, by not stepping where people are buried, a way of respecting them long after death.
Her father taught her many things. To be headstrong. To strive for a stellar education. To remember that a girl can conquer anything.
Today, Alison is the epitome of grace, her wavy brunette hair pulled back as she glides through section 34 of the cemetery. The whir of the nation’s capital is drowned out here. Crickets chirp, cicadas buzz. A robin perches on a gravestone, almost as if watching.
As she reaches the fifth grave from the large oak, Alison turns and faces the headstone. It is her father’s: Johnny Micheal Spann. Known as Mike, he died on November 25, 2001 — the first American killed in the war in Afghanistan.
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God bless her.