6/11/07

Reflections on the Monuments

Practically everywhere we traveled in Washington D.C. on Monday, you could see the Washington Monument a 555 foot obelisk that was built between 1848 and 1884 as a memorial to the first President of the United States, George Washington. It is the tallest free standing masonry structure in the world.

Being at the World War II Memorial reminded me of my Uncle William Woolum. He died in the Pacific Theater during the war. Here is some information about him.

William E. Woolum
ID: 06540362
Entered the Service From: Idaho
Rank: Machinist's Mate, Third Class
Service: U.S. Navy, United States Naval Reserve
Died: Saturday, October 07, 1944
Memorialized at: Manila American Cemetery
Location: Fort Bonifacio, Manila, Philippines
Awards: Purple Heart

I didn't know he was memorialized in the Philippines. I also didn't remember he had been awarded the Purple Heart.
I remember it was very hard for my Grandma Woolum to lose her son in the war. This monument is a beautiful tribute to the men and women who fought in this war.
As you enter the Vietnam Memorial, you see this statue, representing the men who fought in the war.
I had always heard the Vietnam Memorial Wall was a very emotional experience. There were many people there wiping their tears, and making a pencil etching of the names. Many flowers were left on the wall, and other mementos.
Frank S. Reasoner was from Kellogg, and I went to school and graduated from Kellogg High School with his son. Frank Stanley Reasoner was an officer of the United States Marine Corps who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War.

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The Korean War Memorial, to me, was hauntingly beautiful. As you enter the memorial, the following words are engraved in stone...

Our nations honors our sons and daughters who answered a call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met. 1950 Korea 1953

The middle picture shows one section of the wall where faces of the Korean War are etched in the stone.

The bottom picture is also at the Korean War Memorial. I love this picture of this young boy licking the ice cream cone, and the words behind him.



The Lincoln Memorial is very impressive. You climb the front stairs and come into the monument, and find this statue of Lincoln. The words of the Gettysburg Address are on one wall, and his second inaugral address is on the other wall. I love his final words of this speech, and they are very relevant for today as well.

"With malice toward none; with charity for all; with firmness in the right, as God gives us to see the right, let us strive on to finish the work we are in; to bind up the nation's wounds; to care for him who shall have borne the battle, and for his widow, and his orphan--to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations."

I don't think I have ever heard of the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial. It was beautiful, and had many wonderful quotes from FDR, including the one above. Again, words we should be reminded of today. It showed many depictions of the poor and oppressed and how FDR wanted to help these people. And also the effects of the war, and how it turned the world upside down.


Our final stop was the Jefferson Memorial. Inside is a statue of Thomas Jefferson, and the Declaration of Independance is engraved on the walls.

As we visited each of these memorials, the message I received was that war is not a good thing. Yes, the men and women who fought in the many wars for our country made a hugh sacrifice, but war itself is horrible. The loss of all those thousand and thousands of lives was a great loss for our country.

Can we not learn from our past? Why must we continue the same course time and again?

I often wonder if our congressmen ever take the time to visit these memorials while they are here representing us in the nation's capital. If not, they should. These memorials remind us of many things, and tell many stories, stories they need to see and read.

I don't think our country should make room for any more memorials.

They just need to learn from the ones we already have in place.

9 comments:

Tired Princess said...

LAMMMMMMEEEEEEEE
Why haven't you gotten any pictures of Rob Lowe?

Did you even ask?
Oh and also did you bring the video camera with you?
Email me with the answer please.

InlandEmpireGirl said...

This is a powerful post. I love the combination of images and commentary. Very nicely done.

theschramfam said...

I'm reminded of this a lot lately... the distance our nation has traveled from a nation of integrity and faith to whatever the heck this is that we've become. Even reading your post, I'm called to prayer - something's got to give, ya know? Memorials and alters used to be a reminder of what we did and what we learned, now, it seems like our leaders our surrounded by reminders, but refuse to take them to heart... politics til death, wow.
j

Pinehurst in my Dreams said...

My dad served in the Pacific arena during WWII. He was a medic on the USS Comfort. They followed the fleet, and evacuated the wounded after each battle.

I wrote a piece about him in a comment on my blog about supporting our troops.

War is hell on earth, and as long as evil exists there will be wars.

stdash said...

The teacher in me requires me to correct one part of your post. It is the Washington "Monument" and not "Memorial". Memorials are structures built after the person for whom they are named has passed away. Washington was alive when the structure was started, hence the monument designation.

Beautiful pictures...hope the humidity isn't taking its toll on you and the kids.

stdash said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Silver Valley Girl said...

stdash--Thanks for the correction. I wrote this at about 11 pm that evening, after walking miles and miles around DC, and my mind wasn't quite as sharp as usual. Actually, the weather has been wonderful...Marcia keeps saying this is the best weather she ever remembers.

Anonymous said...

hey Carol,
I just wanted to let you know that you have given me a fresh perspective of our nations capitol. It has been 20 years cince I have been there... and now after reading and seeing your entries, wish I could go again... thank you!
Teirza

Ordinary Janet said...

I agree that our lawmakers need to visit those memorials. I think they forget why they're there-representing the people, and focus instead on pleasing the big bucks.