Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day Thoughts

Portrait left at the World War 2 Memorial.

Bouquets of silk roses were left at all of the War Memorials in Wasington, DC. In addition, family members and friends leave momentos of their family members and friends. When I see these photos, I often wonder about the story behind the photo. Was this taken before he went to war? Was he an older or younger brother? Was he married or did he have a girlfriend (he looks too young to be married). How old was he? Did he make it home a live?

It was a crowded weekend in DC. There were lines EVERYWHERE!



Above, some members of Rolling Thunder at the World War 2 Memorial. I took a walk around the memorial and didn't see any WW2 veterans. Doesn't mean they weren't there, it was quite crowded.

Below, the Vietnam Wall. I didn't even try to get in the lines that started on either end. They were so long!


Below, a lesser visited monument, the World War 1 Memorial (if you notice, it says World War Memorial) They had no idea another war, 25 years later, would suck the nations of the world into another bitter fight. This makes me wonder what conflicts will we be involved in 25 years from now. I mean, 14 years ago, did any of us have an inkling that we'd be in Afghanistan and Iraq?

When I first moved here to DC, this structure was hidden behind overgrown bushes and weeds. I'm not sure when it was "restored", maybe 5 years ago. It is located on the eastern side of the lawn between the World War 2 Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. The silk bouquets haven't been disturbed.

No crowds or lines here. A perfect refuge to reflect on sacrifices of military men and women and their families over the years. I have to wonder, will there be a time when the other memorials are this quiet on Memorial Day weekend?


The Korean War Memorial. This was crowded, but not as much as the Vietnam Wall or World War 2. I like the message on the wreath from the South Korean Ambassador "We are Today Because Such Men Where Then".



Above, the sculpture honoring Vietnam war nurses. There is a sculpture honoring World War 2 nurses somewhere in Arlington Cemetary. I will have to find it someday when I have time. Below is a message left by a grateful patient.


Near the Vietnam Wall, an organization bringing attention to the deaths after the Vietnam War that were attributed to Agent Orange exposure had quilts displayed. The quilt patches were made by family members honoring their vetrans. This was one of my favorite patches because it contained so many photos (if you haven't guessed, I'm really into photographs). The photos depict the Marine as a young boy, a young man, a Marine in Vietnam, and as a husband and father after the war. This Marine veteran, developed cancer related to exposure to Agent Orange and later died.

Another quilt patch that I also liked had the dates of birth of the veteran, the date he enlisted in the Air Force, the dates he was in Vietnam, and the date of his death due to cancer. Spread throughout the this patch were small hand print appliques with the first name of a grand child and their dates of birth - - all after the veteran's own death. For some reason that choked me up, all his grand children he missed meeting were represented on that patch.


I will now leave you with one final bike. Is this not loaded? I had to inspect it a bit more closely.


Yes, that is an aligator head, a lizard, turtle and some headless bird.


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