With Memorial Day right around the corner, I wanted to share an experience I had during a recent trip to Washington D.C. for a work meeting.
On the last morning when I was there getting ready to head downstairs for breakfast and the morning meetings, I happened to turn the local news on (which I had not done any of the other days). I saw about that day being the 70th anniversary of V-E Day, that it was going to be at the WWII Memorial starting around 10:30am, and that Madelyn Albright was supposed to speak. I couldn’t believe I was lucky enough to find out about that! I had just enough time between the end of the meeting and when we needed to leave for the airport to go to the memorial and see some of the events.
Unfortunately, Albright apparently had something come up, so she couldn’t be there (I was bummed-really wanted to see her) but she had her sister give her speech, and she did a really nice job. Listening to her and looking around at all the old veterans, I got choked up many times.
After the speeches and the wreath ceremony, they did the “Arsenal of Democracy” Flyover, and it was amazing. There were over 50 vintage WWII planes that came down the Potomac, came around by the Lincoln Memorial, over us, by the Washington Monument, and down the rest of the Mall. To see them coming around Lincoln and hear the sounds of planes from so long ago was something I will not soon forget.
The part that got me most of all (and got me to full on streams of tears running down my face) was the last group of planes. The announcer said they were going to do the “Missing Man” formation which is an honor to those that have been lost in the war(s). It is still done today in airshows and dates back to WWII. Before they came by, the band played “Taps” and then they came by. There was not a dry eye there as that was playing. How can you NOT get choked up during Taps? There were 4 planes together and just as they were over me, 3 kept going forward and one turned up towards the sky/the heavens. I think you could have heard a pin drop in the entire Mall at that point. It was a spectacular and special sight to see.
I’m thankful for being able to have the opportunity to see an important event like that. Thank you to all veterans.