Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Memorial Day

Well, since we were in Washington, we got to celebrate my first ever Memorial Day (we have Remembrance Sunday in November in the UK) good and proper.

We started off at Arlington Cemetery, where my nephew was very excited to be able to see the president arriving in a motorcade.

I think I would have preferred to be there at a time the president wasn't - not only were there huge crowds trying to catch sight of him, but large parts of the cemetery were off limits for as long as he was there.

Since this is my first and quite possibly only visit to Washington, I felt a bit miffed that we weren't able to look around properly. Also, the hordes of people tended to make it more of a tourist expedition than an occasion for paying respects to the fallen.

The size of the cemetery and the number of graves is mind-boggling - though one thing I had never realised was that most of the soldiers had their wives buried next to them, so that it's not just a cemetery for those who have fallen in battle.

We walked across from Arlington to the Lincoln Memorial, where we saw amazing views of the Washington Monument.

From there, we continued our remembrances by going to the Vietnam Wall, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this year. My nephew's great-uncle was killed in Vietnam, so we stayed for the memorial ceremony there and then took photos and a rubbing of his name.

There was a very young soldier there who had lost a leg in Iraq, and it was great to see the positive attention that he got - there was a real (and understandable) note of bitterness in the speeches of some of the Vietnam veterans.

We did a search for the great-uncle's name on the internet when we got back to our hotel room, and discovered that there is a virtual Vietnam Wall which people can visit and leave tributes to individuals. There were three tributes that had been left for him - I wonder if the rest of his family know about it.

We then walked down Constitution Avenue to see the Memorial Day parade - commemorating every war that the US has taken part in.

My nephew's now looking forward to tomorrow, when we get to visit the Museum of Natural History at last...


Ma Beck said...

God bless 'em.
What a fantastic way to spend the day.

Leticia said...

These are beautiful, thanks for sharing them.

Jeffrey Smith said...

Excellent pictures. Keep it up.