Friday, May 02, 2014

WWII Memorial

WWII Memorial So, on our recent Washington DC trip, the WWII memorial was a special stop for me.

In the fall of 2003, I started talking to my grandfather about going to Washington to see the memorial (which was not yet open). I really wanted to make this happen for him. My grandpa fought in WWII. And I knew he wanted to go see it. I also knew making the trip happen wasn't going to be easy. My grandparents weren't in the best health. My grandpa also said he wasn't keen on flying. My husband suggested taking a train and grandpa seemed to like that idea. {I had not yet traveled by train at this point so I wasn't so sure, but went along with it, despite my uneasiness with flying}.

We didn't make concrete plans. We figured we could save up enough money to go in 2005 and we'd figure it out as the time came closer. I just waited in anticipation for 2005 to come and my husband and I committed to making it happen however we could.

WWII Memorial Then my grandparents' health took a turn for the worse. My grandpa (and grandma) passed away in 2004. After my grandma passed, I asked my grandpa if he still wanted to go. He smiled and told me he did. I think he did want to go, but I also think he already knew it wasn't in the cards but who wants to talk about that? Or maybe he didn't and I am romanticizing the story.

Either way, he passed away about a month after my grandma. It was hard, so terribly hard to lose both of them so close together. Though, there is comfort in my belief that they are in heaven together.

Anyway, all of that happened and I told my husband we couldn't go to DC too soon. I still wanted to go. If I had to make the trip for both grandpa and I, then I was going to, but I also needed time. I couldn't go too soon, it would be too hard.

Life happens though. We had another baby. We bought a house. Most of our travel was to visit relatives. Cancer. Life. A trip to DC wasn't in the cards.

WWII MemorialUntil last August. Last August I went on my First Descents trip to DC. We were only actually in DC for one day. We stopped by a lot of things, but the WWII memorial wasn't on the list, and frankly I was glad. It wouldn't have felt right to go to it then. Because I'm so emotional and big into things feeling right (which I can't tell you how right feels other than I just feel it).

So, when Eric surprised us with this trip and told us DC was part of it, I knew, I just knew that we would go to the WWII memorial. We would visit it. I would go for myself and for my grandpa.

WWII MemorialThe day we went, it was a beautiful warmer-than-it-should have been day. We went there first, knowing it was the must-see of the day. I couldn't have had a more perfect set-up. We weren't alone, but there weren't a lot of people there either.

I was awed when we first walked up. I cried. I'm not ashamed to admit this. I held my husband's hand and looked around. Then (because the kids needed a bathroom) I had some time to just be alone there. I said a silent prayer to my grandpa and hoped he might be smiling.

WWII Memorial Then a band came and started to play. They started with the Star Spangled Banner. This was the second song I ever learned (not including nursery rhyme songs). My grandfather taught me.

{Side note: the first song I learned was Take Me Out To The Ballgame because my grandpa was a Cubs fan all the way and taught it to me!}

I just, well, maybe I'm romanticizing again, but it just felt perfect to be there, the sun shining, the anthem playing in the background. I teared up again. I walked around. I paused. I listened to the music. I took a lot of pictures. I wished my grandpa could have been there with me. I felt my grandpa was there with me.

This is definitely a memory I will hold in my heart forever. 

WWII Memorial  
 WWII Memorial

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