World War II Memorial, V-J Day Ceremony, Friday, September 2, 2016

Friday was a truly gorgeous day and we had a wonderful setting for the V-J Day ceremony.  We had local veterans and veterans who flew in from Texas as part of Honor Flight Austin.  I was assigned to escort Mr. Oscar “Mack” Maddox, a 96-year-old Navy Veteran of World War II, in the wreath laying ceremony.  Mr. Maddox was a kind, sweet man, whose granddaughter was at the ceremony.  He was very quiet, so I didn’t learn a lot about his service, unfortunately.  

Here we are as we were being seated for the ceremony.

memrmaddox

We were assigned the Coast Guard wreath, along with another volunteer and her Veteran, Mr. Carroll George, the oldest living graduate of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.  Unlike Mr. Maddox, Mr. George LOVED to talk.  The first thing he told everyone who said hello to him was that he was going to be 97 years old on October 5.  I would come to find out he ran a marathon when he was 93 years old, so of course I had to have my picture taken with him.

memrgeorge

This is my favorite part of volunteering (well, aside from Logistics, of course…).  Meeting these Veterans has given me so many amazing experiences and memories.  They are truly our national treasures, and sadly someday soon they will all be gone.

It was a beautiful ceremony, and afterwards Mr.George stayed at the Memorial talking to visitors for 2 hours.  It was an honor to participate, and I’m really looking forward to the ceremony marking the 75th anniversary of the attack on Pearl Harbor in December.

Oh, and I made the Georgetown paper: http://www.georgetowner.com/articles/2016/sep/05/greatest-generation-commemorates-v-j-day-national-world-war-ii-memorial/

georgetowner

They even spelled my name right, which Mr. Malet must have read off of my nametag, because he didn’t ask me what my name was.

After the ceremony was over, I stayed at the Memorial until 5 PM.  I was originally scheduled to go over to the Washington Monument, but it’s still closed.  So as all the other volunteers filtered out, I stayed to alternate between watching the window and walking through/around the Memorial.  And the visitors didn’t disappoint.

Visitor:  Can you tell me where the closest Circulator stop is?
Me:  It’s at 18th and Constitution.  Walk through the Memorial and follow the path straight ahead.  That will take you out to Constitution Avenue and there is a bus pullout where the Circulator stops.
Visitor:  You mean down by the Lincoln Memorial?
Me:  No.  *Repeats the exact instructions I just gave her.*
Visitor:  OH, up by the Washington Monument?
Me:  o_O  No, 18th and Constitution.  *Repeats the exact instructions I have given her twice.*
Visitor:  Is that far?
Me:  You could’ve been there by now.

Visitor:  I need to ask you about the Blue Line.
Me:  What exactly would you like to know about the Blue Line?
Visitor:  I don’t know.
Me:  Well, you can catch it at Smithsonian Station.
Visitor:  I know that.
Me:  OK, well I’m not sure what other information you want.
Visitor:  I don’t know, a schedule maybe?
Me:  We don’t have the Metro schedule here, but I can tell you there is some track work that has closed some of the stations in Virginia.
Visitor:  No, that’s not what I need to know.
Me:  OK, well that’s about all I can tell you.

Visitor:  Where is the MLK Statue?
Me:  The Memorial is just down Independence Avenue.  Walk out the sidewalk next to the driveway, when you come to the traffic light and crosswalk, cross over Independence and the MLK Memorial is right in front of you.
Visitor:  And that’s where the statue is?
Me:  Well, it’s actually a sculpture, but yes.
Visitor:  How many yards is that?
Me:  I’m not really sure.  It’s maybe a 5-10 minute walk.
Visitor:  And you’re sure the statue is there.
Me:  I am sure the sculpture is there.
Visitor:  Is there a statue somewhere else?
Me:  Not of MLK.

Saturday and Monday I was at Korea.  There’s a lot to write about those days.  I’ll try to get something up tomorrow.  Stay tuned! :o)

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