An Unexpected Walk to the Pentagon Memorial

Road trip 2012 commences. And presents new opportunities and challenges to 30+ Days of Fitness. To begin with, we drove from Boston, MA, to Arlington, VA, which took about nine-ten hours with traffic. By the time we checked in and ate dinner, evening was winding down.

Alas, I will not let you down! As long as you consider walking a form of fitness, then the journey begins. We walked around Crystal City and Pentagon City to check out the area and ended up at the Pentagon.

We reached the memorial for the victims of the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon. I can’t express how moving it was. Not only were the names of those lost that day carved onto a memorial placard, but individual memorials were created for each individual, arranged Pentagon Memorial by nightby the year they were born. The youngest was only 3.

When you see evidence of a tragedy such as this, your kids are naturally going to have questions. Who would do something like that? And why? I cannot imagine how parents addressed the questions and fears of their young children when 9/11 hit, while they themselves probably didn’t have answers. My son was only a few months old at the time and my daughter wasn’t even born. Although they’ve heard or read about what happened, it was from a distance, filtered through what they heard or read or a TV screen. Visiting a site where tragedy occurred makes such a greater impact. Yes, something terrible happened. Right where we stand.

I remembered a similar feeling upon reading about the concentration camp at Dachau and then actually visiting the site. You’re hit with so many emotions when trying to process a senseless tragedy. You constantly ask how and why people can be so cruel. Many people walked around the site in tears.

So we had deep talks on the walk back. Talking about true heroes, such as the firefighters and police who rushed to aid people that day. Trying to make sense of a world and people who don’t always make sense. Focusing on compassion and empathy for your fellow human beings. Honoring sacrifice. Doing what’s right rather than what’s easy.

Although I know most of my posts focus on silliness, there’s nothing I’m going to goof around about today. I went back to the hotel and read bios of the people who were lost that day. People who had some much promise.  If you’re ever down in DC/Virginia, I highly recommend visiting there. And if you’d like to read more, please visit the Pentagon Memorial site.

Day 2 Coming Soon – Biking Around Washington DC

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