Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Thematic Photographic 11 --- Poignant


THE NAME ON THE WALL

Here we are at Week 11 of Thematic Photographic, a photo challenge that anyone can jump in and share photos that fit the theme for the week. Carmi at Written, Inc. is the mastermind, himself an excellent photographer and writer. He barely had this week's theme up when I stopped by to look for it. The theme this week poignant, thought-provoking and sure to stir up a range of emotions.

It took me no longer than a second to know which photo I would bring in for the first of what could be a series this week.

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?

9 comments:

Mojo said...

You're right about the silence. There's only one other place I've been that can compare in the "deathly hush" category, and that's the USS Arizona Memorial at Pearl Harbor. (But the Arizona memorial isn't in the middle of downtown DC either!)

I wonder if the designers of The Wall knew going in how much room that many names would require.

Linda said...

That is beautiful! I have a photo from the wall...of someone's purple heart left at the wall, with a note to a buddy. I so would have used it, but it's in a box somewhere, before the digital camera age...

dianne - bunny trails said...

Beautiful photo - very fitting for this week's theme.

It's Time to Live... said...

Always makes me think...
My son spent two years in the DC area. My wife and another son went back with him to visit but I was unable to go at the time. One of my major mistakes in life was not to make the time to go... But, can't change the past so I just learn from it. Thanks for the image.

swile67 said...

beautiful...i have never had the privilege of going to DC to see this memorial...the photo moved me to tears..thank you!

Heather said...

This is a really nice shot ... no words even need to be said. A great entry for the theme this week :)

~Heather

Mike said...

Nice shot Barb. I took one very similar when I was in DC. Sure fits the theme!

Can't wait to see your pictures from the Xeriscape Garden.

Carmi said...

What a great choice for this week's theme, Barb. Such a powerful image, supported by powerful words. Deafening silence...indeed. It brings to mind the sounds I always seem to hear when I walk in a cemetery. It's not so much the sounds from the outside, as they are incredibly hushed. Rather, it's the ones from inside my head. The thoughts, the reflections, the wondering of what could have been.

Thank you for sharing this.

smarmoofus said...

Such a touching post, Barb. I don't know anybody personally affected by the Vietnam War, and it ended just after I was born, and yet, that period in our history always hits me. It's inexplicable. I've been to Washington DC three or four times, but I've never ventured to the memorial. I'm afraid I wouldn't maintain my composure.

-smarmoofus