Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day

Hope everyone is having a wonderful, relaxing Memorial Day and has taken a moment to think of those (past and present) who have served our country. I know I have. I take my freedom very seriously and love my country! I don't always agree w/ some of our government's decisions or actions but I am proud to be an American!

Today's photo is of Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, DC. I realize this is going to sound very morbid, but Arlington is, in my opinion, one of the most beautiful places in DC. (especially in the fall! My favorite time of year!). It is so incredibly peaceful and serene. As you know, I'm a bit of a history geek and loved walking thru the markers and thinking about those that are buried there -- did they have any brothers or sisters? Were they they oldest in their family or were they the baby? Were they married? Any children? What did they do before the war? What kind of hobbies did they have?

One of my favorite photos of T was taken on the steps of the Arlington House. She must have been about 14-15 months old and is wearing pink corduroy overalls and has a wonderful, natural, candid smile on her face and the wind is blowing her hair. She had been horribly cranky all day and I was very nervous about taking her to see the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. I thought for sure she was going to start fussing and cause a scene. That little stinker must have realized that something solemn was about to occur because she did not make a peep. She sat totally alert in the stroller and did not move a muscle.

Both sides of my family have served this country well: my dad was in the Air Force and so was his oldest brother Stanley. Uncle George, the baby, was a hippie (ha!ha! someone please remind me to post about the time him, Uncle Smokey and my cousin David tried to drive to Woodstock!!!!). Their dad, pictured below, was captured and escaped from a POW camp in Germany. My mother's dad, my Grandpa Duda, served during WWII in Washington DC where he met my grandmother (she was a simple farm girl from PA who moved to DC w/ a couple of girlfriends to help during the war effort and he was a street smart guy from Brooklyn). My Grandpa Duda's baby brother, Henry, also served in the military but I don't know in what branch. My Uncle Zip, my mother's oldest brother, was in the Navy as was my Uncle Smokey (the hippy-wanna-be). My Uncle Michael, my mother's baby brother (he's only 5 years older than me), was in the Air Force and most recently did a voluntary tour in the Middle East (I really need to confirm where he was but I do know he came home decorated for heroism). I can't remember if it was my Grandma Duda's father (my grandpa Castle who I never met) or if it was his brother, Robert, who served in WWI. I'll have to check w/ my mother. My uncle Jack was in the Navy and still attends his reunions.

My Grandpa Shrodo, a WWII POW (I need to find a photo of Grandpa Duda in uniform)

Chris's dad was a marine and served in Korea, Chris's nephew Louis is currently serving in the Navy. I believe one of my mother-in-law's brothers (Andy perhaps? maybe that's why Chris's brother Drew was named Andrew???) was killed in the war (again, not sure which war -- WWII???). And now Chris & I personally know 3 very fine young men from Hoover who are attending Annapolis -- Brye, Jacob & Jordan.

US Naval Academy, Annaplis, MD

I think one of the reason's I am so fascinated/proud of our country's military is because I grew up in Rockland County, NY. Many Revolutionary War battles were fought throughout the county and West Point was only a few minutes from my home. We went the military museum there fairly regularly and loved going to the football games and the dress parades. And then, when we lived in MD, we had the privilege (pre-9/11) of walking freely around Annapolis.

US Military Academy, West Point, NY

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