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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Veterans Day at the U.S. Navy Memorial

By the Queen of Free

Veterans Day occurs every November 11 to commemorate the ending of the World War I when an armistice on the eleventh day of the eleventh hour of the eleventh month stopped fighting between the Allies and Germany.

Today at the U.S. Navy Memorial at 7th and Pennsylvania about 350 gathered to see the laying of the wreath of red and white carnations at the Lone Sailor statue, and to hear a few words and a benediction by Navy personnel who came to honor those past and present.

On the splendid afternoon in glorious sunshine we listened to magnificent music played by the Navy band, marred only by construction sounds emanating from across the street at Archives. (Could not someone have ordered construction to halt 30 minutes in honor of our servicemen and women?)

About 30 chairs sat on Memorial Plaza to accommodate veterans and family members. The rest of us gathered in the circle around the memorial to witness and to hear.

What a delight and heart rendering to see at the ceremony's end a veteran of likely World War II vintage standing beside the sailor statue wearing a slight smile and his Navy cap bedecked in ribbons. Many captured him on film while he stood with a cane beside the wreath with a shiny blue ribbon labeled in gold: Veterans Day 2008. One could only imagine what histories the gentleman carries.

Three D.C. Boy Scouts proudly joined him to have their pictures made, and the youths with the older gentleman reminded us of the changing of the guard down the street.

With awe and silence we had come to watch and admire the dignified ceremony to commemorate those who give in the name of the United States. We are grateful.

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