Thursday, June 3, 2010

Memorial Day Weekend- the details

So I absolutely have to write about this Memorial Day weekend. I've been finding it difficult to put any of what we did into a simple blog post. We did so much and I could recap only the physical details. More than that I was able to feel so much, but what we feel is hard to describe in just words.

I left Friday morning and the entire 6 hour drive to DC I kept thinking I should have left earlier, several of my friends were already there. We met up and just talked in the hotel room for a while before getting ready for dinner. I was able to meet Glenda before dinner, which was such an honor! We did dinner at the hotel and then headed to the Vietnam memorial to find her husband Bruce’s name on the wall. There were members of the Rolling Thunder everywhere when we got there and rain was poring down. We fit all the ladies under 3 umbrellas and took off to search for the name. Minutes after we found his name the bagpipes began, Amazing Grace. It was an instant reaction for us as we grabbed each other and our tears joined the rain. After amazing grace, they played Taps. No one moved. Then big hugs for all of us. We tried to fix our makeup and get some pictures with Bruce’s name. As we walked out of the memorial I was searching for a friend, trying to check out all the faces in the crowd, looking for blond, looking for Kim. I found her, snuck over and we hugged. She said hi to all the girls and we were all able to chat for a bit. We met and shared the pins we wear with another widow that our PBS man, Jim, knew, then headed into a cab to Georgetown. We spent some time talking, laughing and drying off at the restaurant then went back to the hotel bar for some drinks and pool games. As we got to the hotel Allison spotted Lt. Dan. The Lt. Dan, Gary Sinise. Jim got him to come over and meet us, along with Dennis Haysbert and Joe Mantegna. We were all flabbergasted and trying to act cool, like this is something we do everyday. Each one of them took the time to get to know us and we took some pictures.

I was able to meet Tatitana’s mom who is so similar to her, it’s beautiful! She has such a high energy and she was hanging out with us from time to time. It gave me insight to where one of my best friends comes from. Some of Allison’s family was there and it was so nice to be able to share some time, especially with her (slightly famous) father. Taryn’s parents were also there and they are clearly very special people.

Saturday was very emotional for all of us, we began in Arlington at the Kennedy wreath laying. We then went to Section 60 where the Iraq and Afghanistan veterans rest. Brooke and Kim both have their Love’s buried there and to see them in their intimate moments was a privilege for me. We decorated Frankie’s spot and all touched a rose before we left it with him. We left roses for Warren, and told him his girl is in our hands and we've got her back! We were also able to talk with some of the other people paying their respects, leave them flowers, and thank them for what they've given. Some of the women we know were not able to be there with us so we searched the area and took pictures, laid roses and delivered any messages. There were also several spots we just had to stop and admire. Pictures adorned wreathes, put in frames, taped on the back, left with loved ones to represent them or catch them up on their lives. It was very touching.

After we left Arlington I was drained, hungry, hot, tired and I lost it a little on the phone with my mom. I couldn't get over how many people were buried there, across the whole cemetery, and in Section 60 alone. I know the pain that it has caused our group of women, our families, and so many of us weren't there. I couldn't imagine the amount of pain that was spread throughout that cemetery and how far it reached. I was worried about things back here, and not being here for Mike this Memorial Day. My mother assured me that I am honoring his legacy and living how he would live, which is exactly what I needed.

We ate some lunch, hung out a little longer; I got some hugs to pull me out of my fall for the moment. Then we got a tour of the Capital. After the tour we got ready for a dinner at Clyde’s with our PBS friends and it was delicious. That night we planned to do a little self-led night walking tour. I ended up opting out of the tour to talk to one of Mike’s friends and it was a good conversation. We shared some memories, and we were able to share that we are both still hurting, and that’s ok. I was really comforted after the phone call and I could feel Mike being proud and happy. Overwhelmed, I went to bed early and caught up on sleep.

The next day we had some quality time at the eastern market and then began getting ready for the Memorial Day concert. We were lucky enough to get transported over to the concert early and sit in our reserved seats in the 1st and 2nd rows! The concert was amazing, especially that close. I feel so lucky to have been part of this weekend. If you missed the concert there are two clips below.

Brad Paisley- Then- National Memorial Day Concert

AJ Cook and Blythe Danner- Taryn and Glenda's story

These are the details of this weekend. The feelings that accompanied me are more than I can tap into right now...

1 comment:

Brooke said...

Stacey, I can't even begin to imagine the emotional aspects of that weekend, but I thank you for sharing the events. I bet it was overwhelming and somewhat calming in the same breath. Continued thoughts and prayers for you and Mike! xoxo