September 03, 2005

Military Honored

September 2 marked the 60th anniversary of Japan's unconditional surrender to the Allied Powers, the signing of surrender documents on the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay, and the end of World War II in the Pacific Theater. To commemorate the event I attended a small and elegant ceremony at the World War II Memorial on the National Mall.

From my seat I could see rows and rows of proud Veterans sitting with their families up close to the portable stage. The event opened with a wreath laying at the World War II Memorial proper. Unfortunately, I couldn't see it first hand since I was in the event seating area off to the side. On the big screen I watched as Secretary Rumsfeld laid a wreath and the Director of the National Mall Parks (I think) laid a second. Various military personnel carried flags from each of our allies into the ceremony as they were annouced. It was brief, but poignant.

As the speeches began I counted myself lucky to be part of such a momentous occasion. At the same time, I was a little disheartened by the obvious lack of my generation's representation outside of uniform. But it also left me reassured that I will always have with me something genuinely unique. All in one night I was witness to the Secretary of Defense, Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Veterans Affairs, R. James Nicholson, the Sergeant Major of the Army, Kenneth Preston, and former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and WWII Veteran, General John Vessey. Senator Bob Dole was scheduled to be there as well but was forced to decline the invitation at the last minute.

Just before the closing fireworks they paid tribute to each individual service by asking people to stand if they or someone in their family had served under a particular branch. It wasn't until I found myself standing more than sitting that I realized how rare I was, even in that crowd, and saw just how militarily focused my life and my family has been.

It was a touching and humbling experience as today's service members honored and thanked the Veterans and the Veterans did the same for today's service members.

What came afterward was just the icing on cake ... but that is an entry for another day...

Posted by Princess Cat at September 3, 2005 01:33 AM @ 01:33 AM in Good Times // Permalink | TrackBack