Hundreds of thousands, and even millions have traveled the world over to visit a variety of memorials and monuments; and while most are considered tourist attractions, memorials; in particular, are also physical symbols of our reverence; remembrances of a historic person or event.
Memorial Day, as well as the upcoming 4th of July Holiday provide a perfect opportunity for road trips to make those memorable visits; although visiting memorials and monuments is popular throughout the year.
The most visited memorials are war memorials, while natural beauty, such as Devils Tower National Monument, named America’s first national monument in 1906, are equally as popular.
The Vietnam memorial surpassed Arlington Cemetery and the National World War II Memorial in “welcoming the most visitors,” although the Korean War Veterans Memorial spiked considerably in 2009, in comparison to previous years.
The nation’s capital has been referred to as the “nerve center of memorials,” and rightfully so with its abundance of war statues, memorial walls and plazas. This doesn’t even include Arlington Cemetery which houses numerous memorials, including the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and perhaps lesser known such as a Cenotaph memorial honoring the crews of the Space Shuttle Challenger.
Prominent persons, including Abraham Lincoln, Benjamin Franklin, John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, to name a very few, have also been honored with their memorials being visited on the anniversary of their deaths, on Presidents Day, and other occasions. Other significant memorials include those honoring survivors and the deceased from the February 26, 1993 and September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
No Matter the season, no matter the reason, road trips to see or commemorate a famous person, fallen military heroes, tragedies such as September 11th and during the Holocaust, and even the beauty of a monument of nature or architecture is a worth while road trip, and one to remember.
As we reflect on the past, this Memorial Day, I am reminded of this beautiful poem, written by LTC John McCrae, Canadian (1872-1918):
In Flanders Fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.