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Memorial Day Reflection

The northbound RWY 01 departure out of Washington Reagan National is meaningful to me as a Navy veteran.

Immediately upon takeoff and a left turn, you see:

The Pentagon with its 9/11 Memorial commemorating the 184 people who were killed as victims in the Pentagon and as passengers and crew on American Airlines Flight 77 during the September 11 attack ranging from age 3 to 71.

The Air Force Memorial with its three 210-feet soaring spires that were designed to evoke the contrails of the Air Force Thunderbirds.

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier which has been gaurded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year with zero exception since April 6, 1948.

Arlington National Cemetery with its 400,000 veterans buried there on its 639 sacred acres including Revolutionary War soldier and fellow Charlestonian William Ward Burrows who was one of the first Commandants of the US Marine Corps.

The John F Kennedy eternal flame gravesite. JFK was a Navy veteran and the youngest elected president of the United States. He became the 35th president on January 20, 1961 at 46 years old.

At the US Naval Academy about a month after I was born and three months before he was assassinated, JFK made his famous remarks about Naval service:

“I can imagine a no more rewarding career. And any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worth while, I think can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction: 'I served in the United States Navy.’”

Pretty much sums up how I feel.

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TD Smyers
TD Smyers
May 25

Thanks for sharing these observations this Memorial Day Weekend, Mark. The images you've so artfully described are powerful ones to reflect on during this most sacred of commemorations. I always get an aisle seat, so I could never have recorded this video! :)

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