Saturday, April 13, 2013

Air Force Memorial and 9/11 Pentagon Memorial

How appropriate the pictures I get to share today are because of a donation from a retired Air Force pilot and my father in law.  Thank you Dennis and Terri for your donation today!
I think you'll really enjoy these pictures.

Later today we received a second donation from someone we only know through facebook!  Thank you Ann for your donation today.  Looking forward to finally meeting you soon.

So we pick up the epic day moments after we left the zoo and we're headed back toward Crystal City to find someplace to eat.  En route, we drove past a few landmarks that I would have loved to explore more but at the time a drive-by was the best we could do.

This is the back of the Lincoln Memorial.  Lisa and I have visited this before but given our time limitations we had to pick and choose what we wanted to take the girls to see.  Next time we will definitely take the girls to explore more of the memorials. 

The equestrian statues entering the Arlington Memorial Bridge.

I turned around and snapped a picture of Alyssa taking in the sites.  
Notice the hair is still wet from the mister back at the zoo.

Alyssa looking out the window at Arlington Cemetery. 

Just a quick snapshot of Arlington National Cemetery.

Great picture as we drove around Iwo Jima Memorial.  This has always been the most impressive memorial that I've seen.  It is just a tremendously powerful statue.

I included this picture for those of you who have not seen this in person to give you perspective of just how huge this memorial is.

 Lincoln Memorial aligned with the Washington Monument.

As we're driving toward the new Air Force Memorial, I was blown away by the design.  
Amazing to see on the skyline.

I couldn't just sit in the car as we drove by this one so Dad parked the car so Lisa, Mom, Tom, and I could go explore.  Stunning to see the sun reflect off the white beams against the blue sky.

Standing in the middle of the 3 arches.

 Favorite picture of the trip and in my top 5 ever!  
I literally put the camera on the arch to get this perspective.  Just stunning.

Tom also taking in the view from the memorial site.

Another great shot to show you perspective.  Check out how tall the statues are compared to Lisa.

 A view of Arlington from the memorial. 

You could see so much of DC from this hillside site.  In this picture alone you can see the Arlington Cemetery, Pentagon, Capitol Building, Washington Monument, Jefferson some of the large buildings around the Mall including the Museum of Natural History, Museum of American History, among many others.  Very neat perspective from this hill where they built the Air Force Memorial.

We heard it before we saw it ...suddenly a helicopter came across the horizon banking hard
 as it followed the Potomac. 

 No idea who was in it or where it was going but a cool moment regardless. 

Again, a shot showing Tom in the middle of the arches giving you some perspective.
 As I understand it, the plane that struck the Pentagon on 9/11 came just over the hill where the new memorial was placed.  So we could see the side of the Pentagon and part of the memorial from up on the hill.  We decided to head down and walk around for ourselves.  It was a challenge to try and share with the girls why we were there and the significance of what we were seeing...but it was well worth the side trip.  It's a very somber and well designed memorial honoring the people whose lives were lost that day.

If you haven't seen the design, it's quite impressive.  They have the benches in order of the age of each person who died.  It starts at the beginning with a 3 year old and ends with a 70 year old man...both the youngest and oldest were on the airplane.  The way the benches are pointed depends on if the person was on the plane or in the building.  By having the benches placed in a time line, they have very creatively and appropriately connecting the victims.  There is also a small pool of flowing water under each bench.  I thought that was a great way of bringing each memorial spot life.  Thee sound and sight of flowing water is very powerful...reminds me of eternal life despite their life on earth has ended.

The girls had a hard time understanding the significance of this memorial.  They were actually a little crazy and just wanted to throw the gravel into the water!  I noticed there was a man (don't know if he was paid or it was a volunteer) that was going around and removing all the pebbles from each pool.  Suddenly embarrassed by what the girls were doing, we really had to reign them in.  In the mean time, I managed to get this great shot of Alyssa sitting on one of the benches.

 My ladies looking at the reconstructed area where the plane crashed.  I couldn't find any literature on it but my mom pointed out a very small plaque on the wall that represented the spot where the plane hit.  Also to the right of the doors just above Alyssa's head is one stone that is charred.  I believe they kept that stone there as another way of remembering what happened September 11, 2001.  Of all of the things you can do in DC, I'm glad we took the time to reflect as we walked around the Pentagon Memorial.

I don't want to end on a sad note so let me share a funny story after we left the memorial.  We were all very hungry so we were looking for a place to eat.  My dad who works in Crystal City knew of a great restaurant (I believe it's a seafood restaurant) nearby.  Of course with it being Memorial Day weekend and an extra several thousand vets in the area for Rolling Thunder, getting a table was not going to be easy.  UNTIL we decided it'd be okay to sit outside in the heat...hoping that the sun would set quickly and we'd cool off.  As we were eating, Tom received a text from a very observant NWS Sacramento intern asking if he was aware of the line of thunderstorms rapidly approaching our way!!  Tom and I bring up the radar and start calculating how much time we had before the thunderstorms hit.  We realize we didn't have much time and shared with my dad who shared with the waiter that we needed to hurry things up.  The waiter looks into clear blue sky and visibly is doubting our forecasting prowess.  Sure enough, as we're scarfing down our dinner we start to see some lightning flashes in the distance.  By the time we were paying, the thunder was starting to roll and the wind was picking up.  We quickly walked into the parking garage as the rain arrived.  Perfect timing!!  The waiter's face was pretty funny as he realized how perfectly we predicted the onset of the storm.   SCIENCE!!!

Again, thank you Dennis & Terri and Ann for your donations today.  I hope you enjoy these pictures and stories from our vacation in DC.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

When we lived in the area our "canned route" for visitors started at the Iwo Jima Memorial at sunrise - what pictures! Then on to the tomb of the unknown soldier and the changing of the guard - ended in the evening with the retiring of the colors, parade and taps at the Marine Barracks. Nice touch to see your dad in his uniform of the day!