It wasn't until my son moved to Washington, D.C. in 2003 to study for his Master's Degree at the Joint Military Intelligence College that I made my first trip to our nation's Capital. By then I had been a Navy Mom for seven years and looking forward to the day that Scott would move to Washington. He had a full agenda of walking tours for us when we got there --- and even more for the several trips since then. But for the first trip we covered only one end of the National Mall. The end where the Lincoln Memorial stands, flanked by the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and the Korean War Memorial.
When Scott was 13 he had the opportunity to go to Washington and the stand-out monument for him was the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. I remember him saying "Mom, it is so quiet there. We couldn't even hear the traffic." I can now vouch for that: the quiet is deafening and the mood is somber. Children who won't even learn of that period in history for years yet were with their parents or grandparents, carefully searching for that all important name on the wall. And when they found it they had paper and pencil at the ready to make a rubbing of the etched image.
Did they take it home to put in a frame on the wall? Or did they place it inside the case with the flag that had draped the casket? Or did it go into the family Bible to be handed down for more generations? Or did they just spend a moment of silence looking at the name on the wall, remembering so as never to forget?