Thursday, November 14, 2013

Visiting Washington, D.C. # 3 – Veterans Day

Monday, I spent another day in Washington to finish up my coursework for Learner’s Edge.

View of Washington D.C. from Lee Mansion
Not wishing to do all the waiting in the cold for the wreath-laying ceremony, my friend and I chose to walk the paths through the cemetery. After visiting the Kennedy graves, the Lee Mansion, and various other graves, we settled down in the Women in Military Service for America Memorial to watch a video called “Vietnam Nurses.”  Tears began to stream down my friend’s face as we listened to nurses tell stories of their experiences during the Vietnam War. Afterwards, she shared that she was   crying for what her husband went through as a soldier in that war.

At the appointed time, we walked back to the bus and had to wait for the driver. The youngest child on our trip played nearby me. I asked him how old he was. He looked away, shy. “Should I ask your mother?” I replied.

She said, “Six, that’s how I can always remember how long ago it was. Mike died in August and he was born in September.” From that point, others engaged her in the conversation. I stood relieved that I didn’t need to respond and wondered what happened.

The driver finally showed up. He and the tour guide had been in a dilemma of not wanting to walk out during the President’s speech to get to the bus on time. We finally took off, and he delivered us to the American History Museum. We ooed and awed at the Presidents’ wives’ gowns, watched the video of past Inaugural balls, and wandered around the rest of the museum.

This time, the driver picked us up promptly. We then visited various memorials. At one memorial, I chose to stay on the bus, having just been to that one recently. I overheard the bus driver and another lady talking about the little boy. I asked about the family. The bus driver told me that Mike, the little boy’s father, had been on the Black Hawk helicopter in Iraq that crashed in 2007, killing 14. The mother had brought the little boy to Arlington for the first time to visit the memorial which included his father’s name.

Next, one of the ex-Army guys on the tour entered the bus. He carried a homemade card in his hands. “Look what a little boy gave to me!” he said so pleased and touched. The card had a piece of candy fastened to a three-by-five piece of paper. Red, white, and blue crayon lines shot forth from the candy. The veteran on the bus wasn’t the only one with tears in his eyes.


I have lots of other educational ideas to share with you, but they will have to wait for another time. Check back in a week or so and I will have one for you. Or better yet sign up for notification by email.

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