They were just kids…

When we were in Washington, DC we visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

If you are unfamiliar with this memorial, it was designed by an architect, Maya Lin, while she was a student at Yale.  Her design won a competition that drew more than 14oo entrants.  Apparently some people were upset because it isn’t the usual “man on a horse” type memorial statue.  From a distance you can see it is large, but it is hard to feel it’s impact.

A full view of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  You have to stand far away to photograph the whole memorial.
A full view of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. You have to stand far away to photograph the whole memorial.
A closer view.  This is just a day in September, not memorial day.
A closer view. This is just a day in September, not memorial day.

As you get closer, you begin to really understand.  I have to say, in my experience, this memorial is the most powerful one I’ve ever been to.  It is beautiful, stark and  moving.  It is just impossible to be unmoved by the more than 58,000 names of the killed in action listed in a monumental way for everyone to bear witness.

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A flag left behind by a visitor.

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The difference with this memorial is that you can interact with it.  It becomes very personal.  You are allowed to get close, to touch it, to take a rubbing if you would like.  There are parks volunteers who can help family members take rubbings of the name and look up information about their service and their death.

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We passed by as this volunteer gave the rubbing to the woman and read the information he had to them.  We had to leave quickly then because I was too upset by that point.  All I can say is, he was just a kid.

I read on Wikipedia that the average age of the US military men and women killed in Vietnam was 23 years (not to mention all of the Vietnamese people killed).  Scott’s Uncle enlisted and went to Vietnam, luckily he made it back.  He was a kid too.

Last year I talked about my Dad’s service, and I ended with this:

“I certainly value all that he and all of the armed forces did (and continue to do) to champion freedom.  I just wish humans were a whole lot smarter so that we didn’t keep fighting wars.”

Valerie

5 Responses to They were just kids…

  1. Thank you for sharing the Washington Memorial.
    If you ever get to NYC – you have to visit the 9/11 Memorial Wall – many there come and do rubbings also of the loved ones who were lost.

    • I saw an old woman digging in a garbage can. At first, I thought that she might have been looking for cans or bottles to sell. But nope, that wasn't it. She pulled a half eaten biscuit out and proceeded to eat it. Do they do that in Brazil?Mexico doesn't have homeless and they are suppose to be poor. Does Brazil have homeless?

    • Martin van Buuren pisze:PozwolÄ™ sobie siÄ™ nie zgodzić. Otóż owszem wskazuje na beznadziejne poÅ‚ożenie Królestwa, jednak w caÅ‚ym artykule wskazuje co można zrobić zanim zaczniemy siÄ™ reklamować. To jest raczej maÅ‚a recepta, która pomoże w leczeniu kryzysu:)

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