07 May 2013

Seeing the Sights (The National Mall)

We had such a wonderful time, with my mother being here for a week.  Do you know what we discovered? 1.  There is such a thing as this lush and gorgeous hydrangea color.  2.  A week is VERY short.  She just left today, and we miss her already.  And it's not just because she helped with the dishes.  (It's because she's delightful and we love her company.)

I had never been to the National Mall before.  My mom and husband had been, but they wanted to see it again.  Thus we three set out, sack lunch and walking shoes ready to go.  We started at the Capitol Building end, where we had our lunch next to some selfish ducks and a mocking bird who knew lots of songs.  From there, my husband spotted the United States Botanical Garden, which I simply had to see.  If you go, walk through all the galleries inside and out.  I loved the children's garden, where kids actually get to pump water and tend some of the plants, or run through the large growth of bamboo.  Way cool.

Check out this banana blossom.  Is that just a tropical wonder, or what?

While I was a bad gardener and tourist and did not get the name of this plant, I did want to show it to you anyway.  Different shades of salmon and pink seemed to flow from the same plant.  

When I lived on the main thoroughfare of a relatively small town, and the Veterans' Day Parade went right past my front porch every year, I began to take the time to be sure I thanked my greath uncle for his service as a medic during World War II.  He saw a lot.  He speaks of surgeries on American soldiers and Japanese alike, sometimes with shoulder-to-shoulder guards facing away from the operating table to protect the life the surgeons sought to save.  He speaks of wading waist deep through Japanese money.  

He speaks of meeting up with an old college roommate in the Philippines, how that roommate sent a gift to my great aunt in anticipation of her marriage to my great uncle, and how that package arrived on the very day of their wedding months later, silk stockings included (at a time when some women were using a marker to draw a line up the backs of their legs to make it appear that they were wearing stockings).

He speaks of being eligible for a furlough and filling out the paperwork to go home for a visit, only to get to the last line where his signature would go, stating he had no classified information and would take no classified information home...he speaks of walking outside, burning his journal full of detailed records of every event of the war he experienced, walking back inside, and signing the papers.  He would not sacrifice his honesty in order to take his journal home.

When I call to say hello from the World War II memorial, he speaks of how in everything, it's all simply a story about how God preserved one young man's life.

I can't explain why one life has been spared and the next was not--so many were not.  I can say two things, though.  First, I'm immensely grateful to all those who serve and have served our country.  Second, my great uncle's story reminds me that no matter how difficult life may seem in a moment, the dangers and stresses are  temporary--but his integrity and character that led him to burn an entire war journal rather than even entertain a shade of dishonesty have lasted him a lifetime.


  1. :)

    That flower is a bougainvillea, a native of Brazil and other South American countries. It comes in many warm colors, but a dark pink is the most common.

    Nice story!

  2. I forget how exotic are the plants we enjoy in South Florida. We went to a similar botanical conservatory, and laughed because it was just like our back yard. ;-)

  3. Awww... :)

    Your pictures are beautiful! (Almost as beautiful as the memories)

  4. The story of your uncle is touching, reminding me of how to face battles.


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