Monday, October 6, 2008

The World War II Memorial

The first time I've ever been in DC, the Vietnam War Memorial has been completed for 4 years and I was in 8th grade. It was a somber place to be then. There was a deathly silence that overshadowed the place as I walked by. Veterans of the Vietnam War were there shedding tears over their fellow combatants who never made it home. Friends and family members of those who lost their lives were also there. I'll never forget seeing one of my teachers crying over the loss of his brother as we laid a wreath next to the memorial. He said it was over 20 years he was gone and this was the first time he cried over it. He mentioned the word closure, and I really didn't know what that meant back then.

This time around, I was fortunate to visit the WWII memorial for the first time after has been completed for 4 years. This was also a somber place to be, but unlike the Wall there was also a lot of happiness. There were many veterans who visited this memorial, some of them in wheelchairs. They, too shed tears over the loss of their fellow men. Many began to cry as my wife, children (my 7 and 3 year-old) and I thanked them for serving our nation and protecting our freedoms. The one gentleman simply replied: thank you for remembering. I finally understood what my teacher meant by the word "closure" 20 years ago.

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