W = Washington, DC

In 1999, our family vacation took us to Washington, DC.  This was a trip full of highlights visiting all the landmarks we knew so well from television and photos, but one in particular stands out.

W = Washington 6

The mood at the Viet Nam War Memorial was sobering, emotional, and very somber … that huge black wall covered from end to end with the names of the American soldiers who did not make it home.

W = Washington 2

I was a child during this war and unlike wars before it, this one was a regular feature *live* on the TV news every day.  The weight of the losses and the unrest it caused could be felt even in our small town in the north of Canada.

W = Washington 3

It was impossible to stand at this memorial – watching people who had come to find a name on the wall, with tears streaming down their faces  – and not feel deeply moved by it.

W

All photos were taken by my husband, Gilles.

About Joanne Sisco

Retired but not idle. Life is an adventure - I plan to continue to embrace it.
This entry was posted in A-Z Challenge - 2016, Memories, photography, Travel and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

63 Responses to W = Washington, DC

  1. Great post! I was recently at Washington D.C. and it was absolutely breathtaking!

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  2. LB says:

    Of all the things you could have shared about DC, I’m so glad you chose this one.
    Sobering indeed

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    • joannesisco says:

      It had been a long time since I last looked at these photos from Washington. Sobering is a very good word for it.
      Cemeteries tell a story, but the wall is chillingly stark in demonstrating the magnitude of the loss.

      Like

  3. Will you do X, Y & Z? Tricky letters those last ones. What about the Norwegian letters Æ, Ø & Å? 😀

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  4. Mary Lou says:

    I still haven’t been able to visit the Vietnam Wall, Joanne Just reading this filled me with a feeling of grief. The artist who created this work is a genius. ❤ Perhaps I need to go.
    https://meinthemiddlewrites.com/2016/04/28/me-in-the-middle-of-atozchallenge-letter-x/

    Liked by 1 person

  5. treerabold says:

    I visited the Vietnam Memorial many years ago. I experienced the same emotions. It was a difficult era in our countries history. I’ve heard the memorial described as a black gash through our Capitol much like the war was a black gash across our country.

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  6. Yvonne V says:

    Seems like a poignant moment.

    Visiting from A to Z.
    Yvonne V

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  7. reocochran says:

    I will always treasure Washington D.C. but may not visit the wall. I know I would cry. My cousin came back “warped” or very sad and gloomy. I have written about the twins and how Johnny came back changed from Viet Nam. Hugs!

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    • joannesisco says:

      I can appreciate Robyn that war really affects those who experience it. The casualties go far beyond those who are killed or physically injured.

      Liked by 1 person

      • reocochran says:

        Far beyond the outside of their bodies and deep into their souls. My cousin, Johnny, was in the infantry, while his twin brother had a bachelors in pharmacy so he was a “medic.” like in M*A*S*H. Eddy wasn’t upset because his position was to stitch them up and move them to a physician if they were more damaged. His position felt useful while his brother, Johnny felt less important and “truly saw the whole picture.” 😦

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  8. Sue Slaght says:

    I so recall those news reports of my younger years. I can only imagine what visiting the memorial might have been like Joanne. I have goosebumps just reading your account.

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  9. Chez Shea says:

    So tragic, such a senseless waste of young life. Lovely that they are commemorated.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. It’s so moving, Joanne. The names and names and names, each one a life unfulfilled, bring home so vividly the loss. I was there about 15 years ago and remember the emotion well.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Rhonda Strong Gilmour says:

    It’s been many years since I visited the Vietnam War Memorial, but I remember well the feeling of solemnity and reverence–for the lives lost, not for the war itself, which was a misguided bungle.
    @RhondaGilmour from
    Late Blooming Rose

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    • joannesisco says:

      A misguided bungle is a good way to put it. When I tried to think of what was accomplished, all I could think of were disasters, like My Lai and Agent Orange.

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    • joannesisco says:

      Hi Rhonda – thank you so much for visiting. I thought you’d like to know that when I tried to visit yours, I was blocked saying it was a Known Dangerous Site.
      Sorry – I tried twice and was blocked both times.

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  12. Barbed Words says:

    I went to the wall a few years ago on a trip to Washington. It was a sobering experience, very moving.

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    • joannesisco says:

      We keep building these memorials in the hope that we will remember the sacrifice and waste of lives. It doesn’t seem that we actually do remember though. We just keep tripping from war to war with each new generation out-fitted with a shiny new moral righteousness.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. jan says:

    We were in Washington in October and I saw the Korean War memorial for the first time, in the fog. Amazing.

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    • joannesisco says:

      That was something I didn’t see, but thanks for the nudge. Your comment made me realize there’s a Korean War Memorial in Toronto that I’ve never visited. I must put it on my list of things to do!

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  14. Washington DC is one of my favorite cites. Fortunately, my husband’s aunt lives in Arlington so we have a free place to stay that’s also close to the Metro. I was also pretty young during the Vietnam war but my mother took me with her to several protests. My older brother was part of the draft lottery at the time but, fortunately, had numbers high enough to be fairly safe. I’m not sure we’ll ever learn…

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  15. Must have been pretty emotional. That was a terrible war.

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  16. You would think people learned from that mistake and no other pointless could ever be started again. But that’s just an illusion, because they are crying for more

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  17. Ally Bean says:

    I adore Washington DC. The monument. The museums. The architecture. So much to see and do, + the restaurants are varied and seem to all be good. I was just thinking over the weekend that I’d like to go there in the fall to balance out the last time we were there in the spring.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. bikerchick57 says:

    I visited the Viet Nam memorial during my first visit to D.C. It was indeed sobering and very quiet considering all of the people in the area. The next time I visit, I plan to go to all of the monuments again and spend a little more time in reflection of the history of our country. I was also a child during the Viet Nam war, but the ex-husband was actually there, building temporary bridges for the Army. It was not a pleasant experience for him. He suffered from PTSD for a while, but I understood considering the stories he told me about the war. He had a friend die in his arms. Terrible stuff.

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  19. The wall is one of my favorite places in DC, also. The other is Arlington Cemetery. I had uncle who fought in Viet Nam and their homecoming was disgraceful. The wall is a beautiful tribute to brave men and women, and it’s heartbreaking. Great post.

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  20. Joe says:

    My visit to the Vietnam memorial was one of the more moving experiences of my life Joanne. Back when the Vietnam draft lottery was in effect and I was 18 years old my number was 326. That basically meant they would have had to draft Nixon before me. Great post.

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  21. Norm 2.0 says:

    It was a sobering experience for me too. That wall goes on forever and just thinking that each name on it is someone who had never made it home….

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  22. The wall monument may be most representative of Washington – another pointless, heartbreaking war. Very moving.

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  23. Oh, yes. I vividly remember this memorial from my visit to Washington DC in the early ’90s. I found it very moving and disturbing.

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    • joannesisco says:

      The statues of the soldiers really left a huge impression on me. We had been down at the memorial during the daytime but returned to walk around in the evening. That’s when we came upon the statues. They felt like ghosts walking out of the darkness.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. A sobering reminder why wars are horrible and to not forget those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. Pray for peace.

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  25. A totally pointless war…

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  26. Corina says:

    I would visit the wall one day. I’ve only driven past a few of the landmarks. I didn’t even get to get out of the car. I think it needs to be experienced.

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    • joannesisco says:

      I couldn’t help but laugh at your comment about driving past. Trying to drive in Washington was one of the most frustrating things we’ve ever done. We could see where we wanted to go, but somehow managed to keep driving right past it on the wrong road.
      We ended up out quite a ways (don’t remember where) and taking transit into the city!

      Liked by 1 person

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