Sunday, May 31, 2009

Veteran's Memorial in Rochester MN

We just got home from visiting the Soldiers Field Veterans Memorial in Rochester MN. I've not been able to see the one in Washington DC, but I can tell you that this memorial in Rochester is very moving.
My son, DIL, and grandson (Austin, who's 15) went with us, and my son had planned on staying in the van while we went to look at it. When we got there, he decided to get out and look at it too. My grandson took one of our digital cameras (we have 2 and I took them both along) and took pictures for me while I was taking pictures (he's good, let me tell you). He stopped and read all the little sections that listed each war the United States has been in, starting with the Revolutionary War and ending with the Gulf War (which still isn't over).
There is a wall which is inscribed with the names of servicemen/women who have perished of injuries sustained in service who lived within a 50-mile radius of Rochester MN. The names are inscribed on both sides of the wall, and will be added to as names are received.
The outside of the 4, curved, graduated-height walls have scenes engraved from all the wars, and the insides of those walls have short descriptions of all the wars (some with maps) the US has been in, with additional things like information on the national anthem, Gettysburg Address, and other historical information. All branches of the service are represented, with engravings of the seals for each of the academies. Flags from all six branches of the service fly, along with the POW/MIA flag, the MN state flag, and the US flag.
There are pavers in the sidewalks that have the name, branch of service, and date of enlistment or war served in on them (DH wants to get one for his father, who was in the Navy for 20 years, and one for himself [he was in the Navy for 20 years too]). There are seats spaced through the memorial, and each seat has something of significance engraved on it (one that I remember had several locations in Viet Nam listed, I'm assuming those were places where American soldiers saw action, as some of the locations sounded familiar).
All in all, it was a very moving, and sobering, experience. You can view the memorial's website here and here are a few of the pictures I took (the ones my grandson took on the other camera will have to wait until I get a card-reader to take the pictures off the memory card):

You can see how reflective the wall is, that's my reflection there when I was taking a picture of it.

I managed to get a picture of Austin as he was taking a picture...........

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