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Thursday, June 01, 2006

Rolling Thunder: Saturday to Thunder Alley

We made our way down to Constitution and 22nd Ave to find the rally. Getting in fairly early and the day before the Rolling Thunder Run was a great idea—since the amount of traffic wasn’t too terribly bad. As a matter of fact, we were able to park the bike less than 10 feet from the opening of Thunder Alley!

Around the corner from Thunder Alley was the Albert Einstein Memorial. Did you know it existed? I did not!!

e=mc....errr..exactly how does that go again??

That’s alright, we still managed to walk some half million miles!!!

Typical vendor stuff was at hand…however, I’m still shopping. I can’t help it! Thank goodness I’m space restricted…and uninterested in having to haul more stuff than necessary….my pocketbook thanks me as well!!!

The main thing is the pin, of course! Gotta have the pin. My partner in crime is hunting the t-shirt and patch as well…

The shopping didn’t take too terribly long…and then the real walking started. To the various memorials—starting with The Wall. The Wall is always a humbling experience. To see it in real life brings the sacrifices of our service personnel in sharp focus. It’s not just some glitzy story of the moment news feed on CNN. Standing in front of The Wall brings the harsh reality up front and center.

While I don’t have an immediate tie to any of the names on the wall, I could not help but be touched by what I saw. I felt the emotions of the people around me who did lose their families and friends. The messages left behind are incredible as well. I have never walked away from the memorial untouched from emotion.

The Wall

In sharp contrast to The Wall is the World War II memorial. Gleaming white marble, the sound of thundering water from the magnificent fountains and the stature of this memorial is a one-hundred-eighty degree departure of the quiet stature of The Wall. While beautiful in its own right, I couldn’t help but noting the obvious difference between the two memorials. While the WWII Memorial is beautiful, I didn’t feel the same emotion as I took from The Wall. The Disneyfication of history, perhaps?? I’m not sure if my feelings are correct as there are many other incredible memorials in Washington that are on as much of a grand scale.

The World War II Memorial

I also got to revisit The Korean War Memorial as well. The last time I was in Washington this memorial was in the process of being put together. My father fought in The Korean War and I heard him speak of the experience only once and it was a brief mention. I’ll never forget the emotion that I wasn’t supposed to see.

Other stops on our tour included the Smithsonian Museum of American History and the Air and Space Museum. The Air and Space Museum was quite a trek, but well worth it. After all, how can anyone not love planes and outer space *grins*?

We did make a venture down to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, but it was closed. Oh well, it will just have to wait until the next trip.

Worn out from the walk, we headed back to the hotel. A quick jump in the pool and dinner made for a quiet evening. I worked out the timetable with my girlfriend Karla. She had an earlier day than I did—as she did the Arlington Laying of The Wreath Ceremony—and was pooped from her activities. That and knowing that her day with Rolling Thunder would start at 4:30 am the next day didn’t allow for our schedules to mesh. No worries….I’d see her at the Pentagon on Sunday…..

Boy, did I ever……stay tuned for the Parade…

Keep the Shiny Side Up!

~The Rainbow Wahine


Vinod said...

Very interesting write-up. I hope to ride in Rolling Thunder some day.

Biker Betty said...

Sounded like an awesome & memorable experience. There is so much to see there.