DC Memorial Day Weekend Part I

Memorial day in Washington DC is a sight to behold.  I spend the better part of the day wandering around town with my roommate checking out what was going on.  Two events stuck out to me during the course of the day.

The first of these is an event called “Rolling Thunder.”

This event, begun in 1988 on Memorial Day, is meant to bring to attention the POW/MIA’s from our past wars.  Beginning at the pentagon, thousands of veterans drive through DC on their motorcycles with POW flags waving behind them.  It started around 12:30.  We watched for a bit, wandered around, had lunch, and at 3:30 it was still going!  It’s very moving to say the least to see so many people committed to bringing notice to our forgotten soldiers

The second event of the day that moved me was the National Memorial Day Concert.  This is held each year on the west lawn of the National Capitol with tens of thousands of citizens coming out to show support for our troops and veterans.  This year it was narrated by Gary Sinese and Joe Mantega, who did an excellent job.  The most moving parts of the entire ceremonies were the first hand testimonies of war widows and wounded veterans from various wars.  It reminded me and I’m sure everyone else in the audience of what these men and women go through to preserve our countries freedoms.  Here’s a shot of the stage at the event with Lionel Richie performing America the Beautiful:

As I watched this concert, I started to think about the millions who have died in the numerous wars our country has fought over the years.  My first inclination is that war is a terrible and despicable thing.  It destroys countless lives, and for often questionable reasons.  But the footage from World War II reminded me of an important fact; there is evil in the world, evil that cannot be defeated sometimes without resorting to violence.  My final thought is that in few situations, war is necessary to preserve our freedoms and the freedoms of others.  However, because of the pain and suffering that all wars cause, we must ensure that we exhaust all other possible outlets of solving the conflict, and those we are going to war for a just cause.  To do any less is a disservice to those who willingly put their lives on the line to protect us and the ideals that our country stands for.

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