Elders, Aging Parents and Grandparents: Memorial Day 2015 and The World War II Memorial

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 (Click photos 1x to enlarge; 2x to see “WWII” on some caps.)

Our Elders, Aging Parents and Grandparents: Journalist Tom Brokaw highlighted their specialness, coining the expression “The Greatest Generation” for his popular book about them. On May 19, 2015 countless aging parents and grandparents (and I) visited the World War II Memorial to pay tribute and to remember.

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The Memorial is located on the Mall between the Lincoln Memorial and the Washington Monument with two identical  pavilions at each side: one commemorates war in the Pacific; one  commemorates war in Atlantic.

Veterans in wheel chairs (or not), wearing blue shirts and caps that identify their branch of the Service, are easily recognized and unobtrusively thanked by strangers passing by.
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Many, like the two Veterans below, don’t mind posing for pictures. We sense pride that they made the world a safer place over half a century ago. These two former Navy men served on the USS Gearing–DD710. The camaraderie has endured as ship’s website confirms.IMG_4078

The volunteers wear green shirts. Some Vets–as well as many non-Vets– assist and push the Vet-occupied wheelchairs.

IMG_4065IMG_4074Part of the National Park Service, the World War II Memorial definitely does not glorify war. It does glorify the deep-seated values of our elders and a time in the history of the United States that affected each and every person living in our country.

And we–or at least I–find most old people don’t hesitate to talk about the WWII war years. In fact reminiscing seems to be a popular pastime with the elderly in spite of all the adversities they’ve experienced. (Depression and war to name two.)

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As we try to help parents, grandparents and elders we care about age well, providing opportunities to reminisce is an intangible gift. For a tangible gift they’ll never forget–if they can travel with you–visit the World War II Memorial. Doesn’t the Memorial Day weekend lend itself to thinking about both options?

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Related: For a postcard-type look, visit this site:  Full-screen photos of all areas of the World War II Memorial, taken on a rainy day, as opposed to my smaller (unless you click them)  photos, taken when it was sunny and warm.

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