Thursday, August 21, 2014

Washington DC - World War II Memorial

Finally, after a couple of years of trying to convince my father-in-law to go, we made the six hour trip to DC to see the WWII memorial.  My father-in-law, Bill, served from 1942 - 1947.  He was in the Army Air and was a fire fighter.  His unit would put out the fires from the planes after they crashed.  He has mentioned before that he saw things he doesn't want to talk about but he hadn't told me what he did before.

I think the whole trip was a little over-whelming for him.

The memorial was done beautifully.  They had columns for all the states, all the campaigns engraved in the stone and a beautiful reflection pool in the center.

There was a memorial wall with bronze stars, each one representing one hundred soldiers who gave their lives in the war.

While we were making our way through the memorial, Bill was approached by a Park Ranger who was giving a tour.  She asked him - "Are we in the presence of a World War II Veteran?"  Bill replied yes.  She then announced him to her group and the crowd of people there at the memorial, thanked him for his service and saluted him.  The crowds of people stood up and applauded him.  One woman even asked if she could take his picture.  Bill said he never felt more proud than that moment.

Bill told us later that day that when he returned home from the war, his plane arrived at 2am so there was no welcome home celebration.  He said that this trip and the warm welcome he received from the visitors gave him closure.  

I think back on the stories that he has told us over the years and it amazes me what these men had to live through.  There are very few WWII vets still living today.  They are all in their nineties and older.  Like WWI, it won't be long before the generation who fought was bravely for us are all deceased.  Remember to honor all our vets and always take a moment to thank them for their service.

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