(found, stained with tears and crumpled into a ball, at the foot of it)
My dear Mary Lou –
My trip to The Nation’s Capital (that’s the official name according to all the souvenir shops) is going so well. I’ve seen so much, all those sights. I’ve seen so many people, all in fresh-pressed, dark-colored clothes, all walking fast like they’ve got an important place to be.
I’m sorry you couldn’t make the trip. I guess you could blame it on being the older sister and mom needing you around the house, but I’ll thank you for your kindness and your generosity. I wouldn’t have made it without your sacrifice.
I’ve spent almost the whole time down at the National Mall. The guidebooks say you can get through it all in one day, but I’ve gone three days straight and I haven’t made it halfway through yet.
They built all these things, like shrines, to all these great heroes. It’s pretty incredible. I sat at Jefferson’s feet and read his greatest quotes. I stared into Lincoln’s face – you know how I love Lincoln – and I watched him battle against the weight of a divided union.
But there’s one place I keep going. It’s one place I haven’t actually left yet, at least not without parks service personnel finding me in the dark and telling me to go back to my hotel.
There’s a wall for the Vietnam War.
It’s just all these names.
Names. I can’t get over what happened to these young men. Here they are, turned into nothing more than names. Names that once smiled and laughed and loved, but then were shipped over a big sea to fight a war. Names that cried at night for home and for mother. Names that bled out in a sticky jungle. Names now carved into a wall.
They’ve had their whole humanity squeezed into a simple name.
Is that all anyone sees in anyone else? I keep thinking that. Is that all anyone sees? Just a name?
But, somehow, it’s enough. In fact, it’s just too much. I stand and stare at this wall, this inky black wall, and I hear thousands of voices crying these names. Mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers all screaming out of the darkness, all begging for one last conversation, one last opportunity, one last goodbye.
I tried to remember some of them, but there are too many. Too many Davids and Toms and too many Patricks and Peters. There’s just too many of them.
Is that going to happen to all of us?
Inspired by many personal journeys to that gabbro wall.
Please check out the other great submissions to this week’s writing challenge here:
- Weekly Photo Challenge: Abandoned, 03.03.14 | Markie’s Daily Blog
- The More | field of thorns
- Dreams Insult My Intelligence | Bumblepuppies
- Pillow talk | Never Stationary
- stone | FamousFeline
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | A mom’s blog
- Smile | The Seeker’s Dungeon
- Threes: Haikus from Pictures! | Blue Loft
- Winter Storm Titan Haikus | Fish Of Gold
- A Tribute to my Mum – the Unbeatable Woman | Dreams Will Catch You
- Confession About My Boy Band Obsession | Embracing the Journey
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes – Tori Sinks with the Sun | Just Be V
- Gone with the Waves | Artfully Aspiring
- It’s In The Lost & Found | Lead us from the Unreal to the Real
- Spring’s here! | Scent of Rina
- Haiku X 3 | Musings of a Soul Eclectic
- Do You Have Silver Ties? | Home’s Cool!
- Friends far away | Nagoonberry
- House in three photos! | Scrapydodog
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes – Long walks and dark chocolate
- The Road Maps of Life | Lifestyle | WANGSGARD
- If anybody asks, you didn’t see me. | Trucker Turning Write
- Coach Athlete | The Wind Beneath Their Arms
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes~~Sheila’s Poem |
- Blue Boredom Tape Men: Battle of the Pepsi graveyard | The Bohemian Rock Star’s “Untitled Project”
- Natasha’s Challenge | Mary J Melange
- abandoned, broken, and dreaming | memoirs of an unremarkable man
- The Simple Pleasures | Outmanned
- Iditarod Trail Invitational | pencil me in
- Innermission | The Shady Tree
- A Tale of Two Worlds | Victoria.K.Gallagher
- Seven Icicles, Part One | Stealing All the Sevens
- Inspiration of a pocket watch | live simple
- Lady By The Lake — 3 Images /1 Story | eyevpointofview
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes (Skulduggery) | Reflections and Nightmares- Irene A Waters (writer and memoirist)
- Writing Challenge | Tania Speaks
- This is Why I Talk to Strangers | Your Goofy Girl
- Threes: A letter to my baby – Weekly Writing Challenge | ALIEN AURA’S BlOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- Threes… Well that’s a triptych to me! « Alison Spedding Photography
- Lebanon Trashed – by Loujain Rabbat | live simple
- Give Peace a Chance.. | live simple
- I don’t know which one is the real me. The person before alcohol or the one after! | live simple
- Seeking Adventure? | live simple
- A weekend on the Road | live simple
- Have you ever written your own obituary? | live simple
- Hello Mr. Breakfast! | live simple
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | Thinking Languages!
- My Religion is Dirt | the intrinsickness
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | imagination
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | Morrighan’s Muse
- The Memory Eater | Really Short Stories
- The Waiting Game – Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes. | Romance Writer
- Three times Three: When pictures paint a Haiku!!! | D Lonely Stoner
- Sand, Sea and … | Tattered Stamp
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku In Threes | Mirth and Motivation
- He who loved the snow! | imwritinagain
- The Blog Farm | Weekly Writing Challenge: Haiku In Threes
- The Importance Of A Mother’s Instinct | So I want to be an author…
- Silence | Alex Waldegrave
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | The Willows Weeped
- Silence – the ‘threes’ photo challenge | Alex Waldegrave
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | MARGARET ROSE STRINGER
- Variety | linkva
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | Holoholo Girls
- capturing sweet nothings
- Hard Rain | Funk House Art Garden
- Sekreku Rumahku | The Frozen Tears
- When “Normal” was Normal | Love, Support, Educate, Advocate, Accept…
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | Chiquitita
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | life n me!
- Thanks to Those Who Wrote | Cardinal Guzman
- Adventures in Expat Living: Offering the Unexpected in everything from Creativity to Toilet Training | reinventing the event horizon
- i am telling you i’m not going | Work in Progress…
- Suicide no. 31: S.O.S. | derekalanwilkinson
- The Lake at Cwm Symlog calls to me… | ALIEN AURA’S BlOG: IT’LL BLOW YOUR MIND!
- Weekly Writing Challenge: Threes | alienisme
- The Road to Whitney Portal | the intrinsickness
- Crazy Little Sister | Glorious Results Of A Misspent Youth