Monday, May 27, 2013

in memoriam

Yesterday, we took the children in to Washington, D.C. to visit several of the war memorials and monuments. Although we've lived here for nearly three years now, we haven't taken the children to see these landmarks because ... my back isn't that strong.

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But Memorial Day is very important to me, so in my quest to impress upon our children the significance of this solemn holiday, we seized the perfect weather and hopped on the metro for a day of adventure in the Nation's Capital.

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We began our visit outside of the White House.

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And then we crossed Constitution Avenue, amidst the tens of thousands of Harley Davidsons that were part of the 25th annual Rolling Thunder.

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Where ever we went throughout the day, we could always hear the roar of the Harleys as they completed their Memorial Day pilgrimage.

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The mission of Rolling Thunder is a tribute to the Prisoners of War - Missing In Action (POW-MIA) service men and women, with the purpose of reminding the government, media, and public that we will never forget. 

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It brought a tear to my eyes to see these so many people united for a cause. There were young and old riders, but most were white haired men sporting some kind of black leather garment (vest or chaps, or vest and chaps), adorned with veteran patches. As they rode past, I could hear Lee Greenwood's song blaring from several stereos:

... And I'm proud to be an American, 
where at least I know I'm free. 
And I won't forget the men who died, 
who gave that right to me. 

And I gladly stand up, 
next to you and defend her still today. 
'Cause there ain't no doubt I love this land, 
God bless the USA! 

They were quite a sight (and sound) to behold.

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Especially up close.

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Now son, whatever you do, don't knock down that motorcycle because they will fall like dominoes and our legs aren't long enough to carry us out of here as fast as we'd need to go.  Got it? 

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We visited the World War II Memorial and I told our children stories about how Jim (Navy) and two of their great-uncles, my mother's brothers Uncle Ed (Navy) and Uncle Bernie (Marines) served in this war that claimed more than 400,000 American lives and more than 50,000,000 lives around the globe.  

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We walked along the historic reflecting pool that is located between the Washington Monument...

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And the Lincoln Memorial. 

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Where we stood at the feet of one of the world's greatest leaders ... 

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And undoubtedly greatest men of all time. 

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(He sure used a lot of big words!)

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We then made our way to the Korean War Memorial...

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Where I told the children about my mother's twin brothers Uncle Bob (Army) and Uncle Ray (Air Force) and how they served for our country in this war that claimed nearly 40,000 American lives and nearly 3,000,000 lives in the region.

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Freedom isn't free. 

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We stopped and looked at the red silk flowers that were placed around the memorials.

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And we discussed how important it is to always remember those people that bravely answered the call of duty and served our country.

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From the Korean Memorial, we walked to the Vietnam Memorial.

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And this memorial, more than any other, really seemed to impact the children.

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We talked about how each of the nearly 60,000 names carved in to the wall was the name of a young soldier who had died in the war.

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And we talked about Kathleen's younger brother, Terry, who died in Vietnam when we was only 21-years old. As we looked at the tributes that people had left for their lost one, we saw volunteers do rubbings of the etched names on behalf of a friend or family member who would be standing nearby, softly weeping.

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We have a solemn obligation...

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To never forget the sacrifices that so many brave souls have made (and will continue to make) for our country.

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Today, we were planning to visit Arlington National Cemetery and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, but we decided that we'll make that trek at some later date.

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After hiking more than five miles around monuments and memorials ...

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This little troop, with their extremely grateful and patriotic hearts, needed a nap.

2 comments:

  1. Great photos of an amazing day sharing history and patriotism with your children.

    So proud of you for taking the time to educate your children about the many men and women who have sacrificed for our country.

    Amy F.

    ReplyDelete