Saturday, August 8, 2015

Vacation Day 6

This was from Wednesday - coming off the Metro station escalator - this is the first thing we saw!  Seeing the Lone Sailor statue was also a bucket list item. 

He stands in the US Navy Memorial Plaza - which is a map of the world.  Michigan is so easy to find!
The Naval heritage Museum was right there, so we went in for a look around.  
I was entertained to see a plaque for this ship that shares a name with my dad!
This James C. Owens, however, was a WWII pilot who fought and died in the Battle of Midway.
We also went to the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.  The sidewalks on each side of this fountain were lined with walls, filled with names of police officers that had died in the line of duty. 
The website shows some better pictures.... 

Next came bucket list item #3 !!!  I highly recommend, if you ever go, take a bag with several bottles of water.  Because it's a real cemetery, outside of the welcome center there are no rest stops.  So no places to get a beverage.  But be careful, since that means there are also no bathrooms.  We were all really dehydrated by the time we finished here.  There is a trolley, but somethings you just need to walk to go see!
Outside the Welcome Center
"The Price of Freedom"

President and Mrs. Kennedy and the Eternal Flame. 

Just wow. 
When I was on the USS Canopus, we tended a submarine named after Adm. Rickover. SSN-709
This was a really pretty vault. 
Caisson heading back to Ft. Myer after a funeral.  The guide on the trolley told us there had been 30 burials scheduled for that day.  

Robert Peary - the guy who discovered the North Pole. 
USCG Memorial
I zoomed in to get this huge stone that stood out way above the others.  I sort of expected a high ranking officer of some sort, but it says....
Our Beloved Son
Claude B. Christman 
Corporal Co. K 27th US 
Vol Inf
Died in Manila
Philippine Islands
December 19, 1899
Aged 21 Years
There's a story behind this, I'm sure. 
Memorial Amphitheater
The Tomb of the Unknown Soliders

We got to see the changing of the guard.  They do this every 30 minutes in the summer and every hour in the winter.  There's a lot of preparation and symbolism in everything these guards do - read HERE if you want to know more.  It's pretty fascinating. I was impressed with how silent all of the visitors were.  There are signs to be quiet but actually hearing it is a different thing.  Even the large group of kids who filed in to watch didn't make a peep.  Randy said he saw the adults with the group pointing and gesturing to certain kids, the 2 finger "I'm watching you" sign. 

Even the act of entering the shack and misting his gloves with water (to maintain his grip on the rifle) was every precise and neat and sharp. 

Near the Tomb is the Space Shuttle Columbia
Space Shuttle Challenger.  
For some reason I was expecting something a lot bigger for these.  
They were just large-ish stones. 
We got off the trolley and left the cemetery grounds for a brief moment - to see the USMC War Memorial.  This was a lot bigger than I expected, 34 feet tall!  And surprisingly - this angle that you're used to seeing is the side away from the road.  My pictures from the road were dark because it was late afternoon when we visited and the sun was behind it.  Still impressive and awe-inspiring. 
A different angle.
The Canadian Cross
The mast of the USS Maine - the sinking of this ship set off the Spanish-American War. There are 23 panels on this memorial that list the names and occupations of all 264 sailors and Marines that went down with the ship.  HERE is more info.

A cannon and anchor of the USS Maine. 
The smaller stones in this area are Civil War unknowns. 
We had to stop and pay our respects to Radm Grace Hopper.  She created COBOL, the type of computer language that Randy works with - and if I'd stayed in the Navy, I would have been stationed on the destroyer named after her.  I had a choice of ships and of course I'd choose the one named after a woman!  But I chose an honorable discharge instead. 
Lt. Hultgreen was the first female carrier-qualified fighter jet pilot in the Navy.  She crashed her F-14 on the USS Abraham Lincoln about 2 months before I checked on board.  She had engine problems upon landing and ejected about 0.4 seconds after her co-pilot.  He survived, but she ejected straight into the ocean and died instantly.  
Some say it was the Navy's fault - that she received inadequate training in the rush to get a female in a fighter jet and others say that even a highly trained male pilot couldn't have landed that plane safely.  
WIMSA was closed when we got there - but that's OK.  I haven't sent my membership in yet!  

That was a long, hot day and we were happy to be going back to the hotel.  We have to go back, since we missed the 9-11 memorial that wasn't that far from Lt. Hultgreen. Maybe next time we'll choose a cooler time of year to go.   

 edited to complete the post! 

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