Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Family Memorial Day Tribute at the National Mall in Washington, DC

On May 15, 2014, my daughter-in-law Blair, ten-month old granddaughter, Charlotte Rose, and I conducted our own Memorial Day tribute at the National Mall in Washington, DC.
First stop was at the White House gates, where we talked about how beautifully kept the building is—a far cry from when Abigail Adams hung her laundry in the East Room.  We explained to Charlotte that the President is the Commander in Chief of all our military.
The Washington Monument was our next stop; it is truly a landmark of our Country.  Construction on this Memorial marker was halted i1854 and not resumed for another 25 years, but it is a constant reminder of the freedom won by our Revolutionary War soldiers and sailors.  Scaffolding used over the last two years to repair damages from the 2011 earthquake had just been removed.  The flags were at half mast, because May 15 was a Day of Remembrance for all national, state, and local Peace Officers who have died in the line of duty.  
The World War II Memorial is so massive it is difficult to take it all in.  Did you know that the states and territories written on the Memorial represent the 48 States and those territories whichcomprised our Country in 1945?  Blair was born and raised in Raleigh, so her eye was drawn immediately to the pillar with North Carolina inscribed on it.  Charlotte was a little more taken with the Reflecting Pool.   Blair, our son Joe, and Charlotte visited the Mall during one of the many D.C. snowstorms this winter.  Blair said the pillars of the World War II Monument look especially beautifully blanketed with snow.
Our next stop was the Vietnam Monument.  Hundreds of school children were lined up to walk past the Wall.  Their chaperones were explaining that this is the 50th Anniversary of the Vietnam War.  They were taking great care to explain how different it was for the returning Nam veterans—how the climate of the Country made them feel guilty for fighting.  Blair and I decided that a reflection of us on the wall would be the best photo, considering how important it is for us to reflect on those who fought and the chastisement they received afterward.
The Lincoln Memorial, which had its own damage just one year ago when someone sprayed green paint on the statue and center of the rotunda, beamed in a ray of sunlight throughout the morning.  Charlotte’s picture—seated at the base of the Statue--was posted on Facebook.  Two of the comments it generated,that I enjoy most, are “so serious—out of respect” and “a wonderful photo to always remember”.    What tremendous responsibility and anxiety to be the seated President during a civil war.  
Our final stop was at the Korean Memorial, where a group of Honor Flight Veterans from Kansas wore big smiles as they viewed this very life-like tribute.  Blair didn't know of the Honor Flight program.   Let’s hope it will continue for all of our Veterans—where they can visit the memorials to their efforts toward maintaining our freedom and continuing our independence.
The ultimate gift of that day was to pay respect to our Veterans with the next two generations of the Pessetto family.   My hope is that Charlotte will enjoy freedom and independence, as I have,throughout her lifetime.  

Posted by Betsy Pessetto

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