Some Treasures can’t be bought with money.
The “Vets” part of 2 Vets BBQ means “Veteran”
I served in the USAF-Reserve from 1987 to 1993. TSgt Carl Johnson is still serving. I was a Medical Service Specialist assigned to the 52nd Medical Services Squadron at Scott AFB.
I was an Emergency Medical Technician before I joined and thought the training and experience would be a great thing. That’s not the primary reason I joined though. I knew it would be an honor to wear the uniform worn by so many who went before me. WWII is still my favorite part of American history and although I was born too late to be a part of that greatest generation, I can honor their memory by serving proudly in my own time. I’m so glad I did.
Tammy and I had the privilege of attending our nephews wedding in Leesburg Virginia. The wedding was on Friday evening so we went a couple of days early on Wednesday so we’d have an opportunity to just relax and look around.
We headed to Gettysburg first. I’ve been through the Vicksburg MS battlefield many times so this was something I looked forward to. If you’ve not been there, then GO! What a wonderful place!!
There’s so much history in that region. Every town we drove through had a battlefield or a home where so and so lived and, as a bonus, the whole area is absolutely BEAUTIFUL!
The Sunday after the wedding we went into Washington DC. Walking around the monuments along the mall and the reflecting pool was an awesome experience. The WWII Memorial and the Vietnam Memorial are Treasures that you must experience. As I read the quotes on the walls of the WWII Memorial it was hard not to be overwhelmed.
The War’s End
Today the guns are silent, a great tragedy has ended. The skies no longer rain death and the seas bear only commerce. Men everywhere walk upright in the sunlight and the entire world is quietly at peace-
Gen. Douglas MacArthur
Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. America will never forget their sacrifices- President Harry S. Truman
We walked to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum as well. I remember, as a young boy, my Dad taking me to an air show. It might have been at Scott AFB. I was in AWE! The Blue Angels were the stars of the show!
At the time they flew F4 Phantoms which, added to the Awesomeness because when thunder grows up, it wants to sound like an F4!! After they landed, the pilots came to greet the crowd. I don’t remember much about the rest of the air show in the way of details, but I remember shaking the hand of Lt. Cmdr. Skip Umstead Flight Leader Plane #1and understanding that he was the most awesome human being I’d ever seen!! Skip was killed July 26, 1973 in the Blue Angel crash in Lakehurst, NJ. His passenger walked away unhurt.
My son Dustin and I would take off 3-4 weekends through the summer starting when he was around 5-6 years old and take in air shows wherever we could find them. We met many of the performers. Julie Clark, Skip Stewart, Leo Loudenslager The Blue Angels, Thunderbirds, Snowbirds and so many more! Dustin has autographed pictures of most of them. These memories are Treasures!! Even this year he has taken off work to meet me in Evansville, IN to take in the 2015 air show. So with childlike wonder, we’ll watch, mouths hanging open, full of goose bumps as Dustin, with his young daughter in tow will pass on the fascination and honor and respect to her.
We got our cardio in for sure!! We got off the at the Metro Center and walked 2 blocks to the White House then Around the Dwight D Eisenhower Executive Office Building to the other side of the White House. We walked around the Washington Monument to get a view of the Capitol that I had in 1997 at the Promise Keepers event…more on that in a bit. Then we walked on to the WWII memorial and the Viet Nam Wall. Over to the Lincoln Monument and yes, up the steps! Then past the Korean War Memorial to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum…Holy Moley we were Gassed!! We had an AWESOME time!
I had been in Washington DC in 1997 for the Promise Keepers “Stand in the Gap, a Sacred Assembly of Men”.
That event took place on the National Mall between the Capitol and the Washington Monument. An estimated 1 million men showed up to honor and worship the Lord our God that day and it forever changed my life. It was nice to relive those memories and see the places I missed.
We got back on the metro and rode to Arlington National Cemetery for the final Changing of the Guard ceremony of the day. The honor and respect in that place is tangible.
I recorded the ceremony on my cell phone but I was at the far end and wasn’t in a good position to video the inspection of the oncoming sentry. Here is what we witnessed.
My own experience as a Desert Shield/Desert Storm veteran was extremely mild. Aside from the occasional scud missile flyover, we were fortunate enough to see no combat. We were however, blessed to treat, care for and transport those who did.
For that opportunity, I am forever grateful.