The Year of Moving Forward

The Year of Moving Forward
At our 4 person wedding reception in DC

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Western Tribune column October 14, 2009, war memorials

I am adding some pictures from my recent trip to DC to this column. For pictures from the National Equality March see my (first) article about the event here.

Western Tribune column

While in the nation’s capital I was able to revisit the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall and to visit for the first time the National World War II Memorial.

Having grown up during the Vietnam War I feel fortunate that none of my close friends or older brothers died in that conflict. But like most Americans who are old enough I remember watching day after day the news reports about the conflict, and anyone of my generation can’t help but be moved knowing that so many our lives were affected by it.

Nearby the more recently constructed National World War II Memorial stands as a testament to those of my father’s generation who fought and gave their lives to protect our freedoms. Water and structure combine to reflect the Atlantic and Pacific theatres of that war, and there is too much imagery to describe in this column.

But one aspect of the memorial deserves mention. On the walls are bas relief depictions of various aspects of the war effort in both Europe and the Pacific. On the Atlantic side the progression ends with a scene in which the American forces and the Russian forces meet with a handshake in Germany.

It is an interesting scene in light of the commie scare coming from a letter writer who claims that communists were accumulating in the State Department “from before World War II until today because of our support of Russia and her leaders.”

While cooperation between the United States and Russia was necessary to defeat the Germans it can hardly be said that we have supported Russia in all the years since. Ever hear of the “Cold War”?

I shouldn’t be wasting my time trying to refute someone who re-writes history to fit their agenda.

Over the weekend President Obama was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. Everyone, including the president’s staff, was caught off guard with this recognition, and some are saying it’s a little early for a peace prize seeing how the president has yet to decide whether to ramp up the effort in Afghanistan or begin to bring the troops home.

But those who voted for that award are recognizing Obama’s commitment to peaceful solutions where possible. We will have to wait and see what he decides for Afghanistan.

And in a few decades, I suppose my children will be visiting a memorial commemorating the efforts in that war and the Iraq war.

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