Memory Monday 08 - Veterans

One of my favorite stops on our 2012 trip to Washington DC ended up being the WWII Memorial. I didn’t expect that to be the case at all and I really hadn’t thought much about that monument when we were planning our trip. It was simply going to be one of the stops on a monument tour we went on with a park ranger guide.

The monument is very nice and I love the fountain and pillars.

The pillars represent states and territories that were part of the U.S. at the time of WW II. This wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.

What really made the experience memorable though was seeing a group of WWII veterans who were there as honor flight guests. Everyone who was there at the memorial started going up to the vets and shaking their hands, telling them “thanks” and clapping for them. It was very touching and ended up being one of my favorite experiences of the whole day. I couldn’t help but think of our own grandfathers and wishing that they could have had that opportunity.

These veterans (and all veterans) deserve to be thanked and it was wonderful to see their joy at being received with applause and appreciation. I bet the young people there will always remember the experience as well. It gave me goose bumps.

I hadn’t thought about this before that day, but the “greatest generation” is almost gone now. It certainly is true in our families as all of our grandparents have now passed on. Both of my grandfathers served in World War II. One of my husband’s grandfathers served in the war and that grandfather had a brother who died while serving his country. I regret that I didn’t ever hear much about the war from my grandfathers. I wish I would have found out more from them about their experiences. Maybe they wouldn’t have wanted to talk about it? Or maybe they would have? I am grateful that my Mom interviewed her Dad before he died. I need to get a transcript of that interview from her and do what I can to find out a little more about the people in my own family who were involved in the war.

Do you have family members and/or friends who were involved in World War II? How about any other wars? Do you know their stories? Does anyone? What do you wish you knew? What would you ask them if you could? If you are lucky enough to still be able to talk to a war veteran, be sure to ask them to share some of their thoughts and feelings with you. They deserve to remembered.