Sunday, August 18, 2013

The Wall


I love Washington D.C., I'm not quite sure why. Perhaps because of the history behind the place. As someone who loves history, I suppose it was natural that I would love DC.


Mind you, there is much that goes on within the District that I find hateful and distressing, but that's politics and of that I will not speak. At least not today.

There is a place in DC that I love, yet hate at the same time. I hate the reason for the place but I love the fact that it commemorates the lives and sacrifices of so many young Americans. Americans who gave their lives in the cause of Freedom.

The Wall.


Technically speaking, it's the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. To my generation it is just "The Wall".

A couple of years back I had the opportunity to visit DC with my wife, our two daughters and our oldest granddaughter. We had the occasion to visit The Wall.


We walked slowly along, me looking with some intensity at the names inscribed there.

So many.

When we got to the end, I turned and looked back, the WSO said, "Dad, why didn't you take any pictures?"

I told her that it just didn't feel like a place to take photographs. It's hallowed ground to me. It just seemed wrong to take pictures. Not that I would begrudge others doing so. It's just not something I would do.

Behind The Wall, as you can see in the picture above, there are trees. While the ladies went off to do something, I spent quite a long time sitting amongst those trees. Watching the squirrels, listening to the birds. It was a lovely day. I decided to enjoy it on behalf of the 58,209 who could not. Those whose names are inscribed on The Wall.

It is the very least I could do to honor their sacrifice.

I will never forget them...


16 comments:

  1. I was just a child during that conflict, remembering only bits as a cousin went off to serve. Yet, standing there in front of those names, etched in stone, I'm reminded of sacrifices every generation has made. When such time as there is a generation unwilling to make them, we are surely doomed.

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    1. Let's hope that doesn't happen. There's a lot of good kids coming up.

      I pray future generations are worthy of those who went before.

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  2. Each year the local Viet Nam vets have a gathering on a horse and cattle (and one buffalo) ranch next to the casino I work at. I make sure that I go up to them when they're inside tha casino and thank them for their service.

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    1. In our Fourth of July parade, the Vietnam vets always get a standing ovation. They earned it.

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  3. To this day, I am filled with anger toward the buffoons who sent our people off to war and didn't have the courage to support them. Just an escalation of what started in Korea.

    The Korean vets really got shafted.

    My active duty son always responds to any, "Thank you for your service", with a verbal, "Thank you", and a mental, "Fuck you", unless the speaker is prior military.

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    1. I know what you mean. I truly do.

      Had a chance to talk with a Korean War vet. I told him that without the sacrifices he and his buddies made, my kids would not exist. He looked at me kind of odd, then I told him that my wife is Korean. Her family truly appreciated the sacrifices that generation made, the US literally saved them.

      I understand your son's bitterness too. Saying "thank you" isn't much. But consider this, maybe those civilians donate to care packages for the guys overseas. Everybody has a job, not everyone is cut out for the military life. But yeah, I understand exactly where he's coming from.

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    2. You are right, of course, about a lot of civilians. The kid has a highly developed supercilious b.s. detector.

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    3. I'm guessing that your son is an NCO. A damn fine one from the sounds of it.

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  4. What is, is. Unless you are bent on revising history.
    Me ... I went there when I was sent to Walter Reed for evaluation after my heart attack.
    I'd snuck out of the hospital this one fine Sunday and took a taxi to the mall.
    After walking through the memorial and finding the name of my friend, I did as you did ...
    went and sat in the trees and fed the squirrels and thought some.
    Then I went and had a beer ... and some decent bar food before returning to the hospital.

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    1. It's a peaceful place isn't it? The beer and the bar food, a worthy tribute in my book.

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  5. I don't particularly love or even LIKE DeeSee coz I lived there for two and a half years... and I remember the miserable weather and the slightly less miserable people all TOO clearly. That said, DeeSee is a lot like that ol' saw about NYC: "Nice place to visit, wouldn't wanna live there." My sentiments, exactly.

    I'll be going into DeeSee later on this month and I'll visit The Wall again, in addition to the newly-added WWII memorial (newly added since I was last there). Duty and obligation.

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    1. The World War II memorial is impressive, almost overwhelming.

      I hear ya on DC, the place does attract a-holes. I suppose it's the nature of the place.

      But the Washington Monument, the Lincoln Memorial, The Wall, The Korean War Memorial and now the WWII Memorial, the place is steeped in history. When I'm there, I can almost ignore the present, while listening to the echoes of the past.

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  6. While serving at the Five Sided Puzzle Palace (I refer to it as the Northern Virginia Penitentiary for Wayward Fighter Pilots), I used to run the loop from the building to the Lincoln Memorial down to the Jefferson and back across the river. I always walked the part by the Korean Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial. Didn't seem right to hurry by. Like you, I was just barely too young to serve there. Being an AF Brat, I was surprised and saddened by the number of names I recognized and remembered as guys that had served with my Dad or been trained by him.
    Couldn't agree with Buck more. "miserable weather and the slightly less miserable people ". Some people were miserable because they were there and even more were there because they were miserable to begin with.

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    1. I like your theory regarding the miserable people.

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  7. The Wall is something special to our generation. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on it.

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Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)