Monday, October 20, 2014

Washington DC Trip - Humbled by the Graves, Memorials, and Monuments

There is something humbling and haunting about the silence in my heart when my eyes first see the white head stones. I don't know what to think, to feel. I am transported back to my 8th grade self, when I first felt this feeling. How can there be so many? What is the worth of this kind of loss? How in this age of brilliant endeavors, can we still go to War? My Questions haven't changed much as an adult. I realize that we must protect our own, and well as those who can not protect themselves, however walking these graves, the cost is sobering. 

I am humbled by their service. The honor guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider. Every Hour. Every Day. Every Year. I watch with hitched breath as every measured step, every exact movement, are carefully executed. This attention to detail, to self control, to honor is why our Military stands apart triumphantly. It is a powerful thing to witness.

This memorial is hallowed ground for our little traveling quartet, both of my grandfathers served in WWII. In the later years of my grandfather's life (my Mom's Dad), my parents were able to walk this ground with him. To witness the power of his memories, and the importance of a nation memorializing the lives and service of those who serve.

Ryan's father fought in Vietnam. My Dad had friends who served in one of the hardest wars our country has fought. This memorial is intense and plaguing.  I followed a woman who walked slowly dragging her fingers across the engraved names. Did she lose someone in this war? Was it her father, a brother, a friend? Was she mourning a physical death, or the death of a relationship due to the emotional injuries of this complicated conflict? 

We spent a few minutes reading through the causality lists for familiar names, and were thankful not to find any. 

I was taken by the faces of these men, looking back on the names of the fallen. I am humbled by their sacrifice.

The Korean War is one that I know very little about. This memorial is brilliantly human. The faces, the trees, the faces etched in marble. Another memorable reminder that Freedom isn't Free. 

We completed a long walking loop of the memorials and monuments and finished our day with an evening trolley tour of the same.

These monuments truly reflect the greatness of the leaders they represent. I am humbled by their vision, by their hope, by the change each of their lives made.

I am humbled.

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