During my travel in the US and while writing my 'Travel Log' I had made a brief mention about the War Memorial in Washington DC. That was one place I saw in the City, that made lasting impression on my mind, and I decided that I must write about it once again.
If you visit the 'Lincoln Memorial' in DC, you cannot possibly miss the War Memorial. You might not want to go and see it from close quarters, but you can't miss it. My advice to you would be to see it.
The War Memorial is just opposite the Lincoln Memorial and onto its West and the 'Washington Monument' to its East. This Memorial was built to remember and honor the roughly 16 Million American soldiers who served in World War II, and the 4,00,000 soldiers who died serving their Country.
The Memorial is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Of the many visitors who throng the memorial, most are family members of those who served in the 2nd World War. Others who visit are war veterans themselves, who probably served in the War and were lucky to make it back.
All the visitors who come to visit the Memorial come to remember their relatives who were US troops in the War, and who never came back. Those that died were fathers, grandfathers, and friends.
The names of the fallen soldiers are engraved on a large black granite wall. I saw visitors searching on the wall for the names of their near and dear one. Searching - with a certain sense of keenness and anxiety. And when they do find the name, they are overcome with emotion. . Some break down and cry - for others - they are just overwhelmed....As if finding the name, meant meeting with that lost dear one all over again
Each visitor makes this visit memorable and symbolic. Some leave a bouquet, others place wreaths. And some write letters to the fallen one who died many many years ago and leave the letter besides the name....
The Memorial is managed by the National Park Service. There are volunteers in abundance, and almost all of them are War Veterans easily in their sixties, seventies or even more.
This place Memorial was built by America for its people to serve the purpose which is clear in its name. To honor and to always remember every single soldier of the 4 lac who gave up their lives, and also the 16 million who fought the war on behalf of a now grateful Nation.
The Americans wanted this Memorial and their Government gave it to them. But consider this - India has fought 5 wars since her independence. Thousands of lives of brave soldiers were lost.
Yet, India does not have a War Memorial till date.
Do we Indians really care about our soldiers who make sacrifices so that we remain independent and free? Do we really recognize and respect their sacrifice?
I think not. And there are enough 'horrifying' instances to show that we as a Nation clearly show disrespect to our fallen war heroes. But that's another story....