Spring Splendors

Spring Splendors

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

An Unbelievable Experience

How can I describe in words what I can barely comprehend myself? As I was standing in front of the Lincoln Memorial, I was in awe that I was actually there. In just a short amount of time I have felt blessed by God to not only see some amazing sights with family, but also to be reminded of the great sacrifices many have made for our freedom.

Following are a few of the spectacular sights we saw today, and after that will be my thoughts on the Visitation Service tonight, along with a video I put together to try to capture the feelings I had when seeing the war memorials. Enjoy!

The Washington Monument is a thrill to see, no matter what angle! Quite a few of my pictures ended up including this monument.

This is at the base of the Washington Monument. It was encircled by numerous United States flags. Isn't it beautiful?

The Lincoln Memorial . . . simply breathtaking! Lots of steps and lots of people (and lots of wetness from the rain), but what a view from where Lincoln sits!

Here is Lincoln! (Much more imposing "in person"--as a statue--than this picture shows!) I confess that I thought about Night at the Museum 2 when approaching this monument. =)

The reflecting pool looks like a bridge (in this view) from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial (which is where I was standing while taking this picture). What an incredible sight!

And of course I had to include a picture of the White House! I didn't get very close (as you can see from this picture), but it was neat to see it in the distance just the same!

After we returned from seeing these great sights, we rested (well, technically I worked on stuff for this blog!), ate a group dinner at the hotel, and then we met to go to Murphy Funeral Home for the Visitation Service.

And wow--talk about moving! Hearing about the lives of those seven men, including my great uncle, was both wonderful and deeply touching. My great uncle was only in his early twenties when he died, and seeing him and some of the other members of his squadron in pictures was hard. He was so young!

But I do know this: they died for a noble cause. We were privileged to hear from a couple of the men who were part of the group my great uncle was bringing supplies to when the plane crashed. It brought me to tears to hear them say that my great uncle was on his way to help preserve lives when his own was lost. These were real men, loved and missed by their families, and honored by the country they served. And being reminded of the stories of these men encouraged me even more to write, because if it's God's will I want to share stories that will be real . . . stories that God can use in a real way.

This following video shows pictures of memorials that honor these great men and so many others who gave their all for those of us who don't appreciate their efforts nearly as much as we ought. How can we ever show enough gratitude to those who paid the ultimate price? How can we ever show enough gratitude to their loved ones who let them go? And how can we ever even come close to showing enough gratitude to God--who sent His own Son to die for us, offering us a chance to go home and truly be free?

video

10 comments:

Amanda said...

Oh, Amber, where do I begin?! Your post made me smile and boy, did it make me cry. Let's start with the smiles :) Those pics are SO cool! And, yes, seeing the Lincoln Memorial, I thought of Night at the Museum 2, too, LOL! Gosh, you have some AMAZING pics to take home with you and also, some AMAZING memories :)

You guessed it, now here come the tears... what a beautiful blessing to be able to attend a Visitation Service for your great uncle. And then to hear of his selflessness and heroism and to see the lives of the men he touched... I'm just so blessed for you. What a special memory to treasure. I'm sorry he was so young when he died. It's hard to imagine, and just so heartbreaking, because he was our age. But his legacy lives on, his selfless deed are honored, and he will always be remembered as a hero.

Oh, and I can't forget that video. Gosh, Amber, the pictures were great and that song, WOW! The words are so moving and fit so perfectly! I can barely see my computer screen for the tears blurring my view. Now my eyes are gonna be all puffy tomorrow ;)But the tears were for a good cause, and the least we can do to honor the lives laid down for us.

I want to share a quote with you that I received in an email once. I just love it and I think you will, too :) "Only two defining forces ever offered to die for you- Jesus Christ and the American soldier. One died for your soul and the other for your freedom." Love will truly sacrifice all, to secure the safety of the beloved.

Praising God for men like your great uncle, who gave their all so you and I can sleep in peace and walk in freedom. Praying the rest of your trip is beautiful, my friend :)

Blessings,
Amanda Stanley

Joy Tamsin David said...

I love DC! it's one of my favorite places. I took my boys to the Lincoln Memorial a few years ago. They stood on the exact step that MLK Jr. stood on to deliver the I Have a Dream Speech (they marked it, did you see it?). It was humbling to look out over the reflection pool and think about him giving that speech.

Glad you had a good time.

Amber S. said...

Amanda,

I don't know how to show you how much your words touched me. I read your comment to my dad (along with another previous one), and we both agree that your comments are so thoughtful and deep. I so appreciate you taking the time to read my posts and really share your heart! Thank you!!!

OK, I do have to say that I'm glad I'm not the only one who thought of Night at the Museum 2--with Lincoln walking and talking and taking out the enemy's army! ;) I'm so glad you enjoyed the pictures, too!

As to your words about my great uncle and others who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom...you're making me tear up, as well. Thank you for sharing that beautiful quote, along with your inspiring and poignant words. Your writing is wonderful, Amanda, and you have no idea what an encouragement you are to me! :)

And isn't that song just amazing? I had the privilege of hearing it live in concert, and I just LOVE the band! I was blessed to be able to share this video with some of my family tonight, as well. :) But I have to say--all I did was put my pictures of the powerfully moving memorials to a powerfully moving song. I hope that God can use the combination to remind us of His love, the love of our men and women in uniform, and the love we ought to have for each other.

Thank you again, Amanda, for everything! I love reading your thoughts, and I so appreciate your encouragement! God bless you!

~Amber

Casey said...

Thank you so much for sharing those photos! What great pictures. :)

Kav said...

Very moving and thought-provoking blog. Reminds me of how much we take for granted. Thanks for sharing your experience so we can get a glimpse of something great. Wonderful video montage as well. It moved me to tears.

Amber S. said...

Casey,

I'm glad you enjoyed them! I've been taking quite a few pictures, because there's so much I need to remember from this trip! :)

Thank you for checking in!

~Amber

Amber S. said...

Kav,

Thank you for your kind words! The visitation service and then the service at Arlington National Cemetery were both beyond belief--beautiful and sorrowful. Thank you for taking the time to watch the video, and I hope we all can remember how much our men and women in uniform do for us. I never want to forget the lessons I've learned on this trip.

~Amber

Anonymous said...

Sergeant First Class Davis

Amber, I was so honored and blessed to share in this experience with you and your family. It is one of the highlights of my 16 year military career.

Soldiers and other Armed Forces personnel don't volunteer to serve this country wanting to die...but they are willing to. Often times I think that folks don't honestly know the many sacrifices we make.

I think of all the anguish and pain that your family went through when your great uncle was missing all these years. I think of all the prayers that were said and all the tears that were shed for him. We have all witnessed the hand of God move and reveal. It was not meant for those who have passed on to see this day. Rather, it was destined in the beginning of time for those of us who have seen this revelation to bear witness and tell of what we have seen. God is an awesome God! He reigns!

In closing, I would like to share my favorite scripture. It has carried me through the many heartaches this earthly life brings.

Psalms 30:5
For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning.

It is our morning. This is the day that the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.

Cyndi

Amber S. said...

Sergeant Davis,

Your words are beautiful, and your actions of service even more so. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for what you did for me and my family! Thank you for your friendship and for your kindness, and thank you again and again for your service to this country.

May I bear witness to what I have seen, as you have described, in whatever way God desires me to do so. Thank you again, for everything! May the Lord bless you abundantly, and I hope that you and I can stay in contact!

~Amber

P.S. I hope you don't mind that I posted your picture, but I would love for you to read my latest post (Saturday, July 17). I just wanted to try and express my gratitude to you and Sergeant Glaspie. Thank you so, so much!

Amber S. said...

Joy,

I'm not sure where my comment disappeared to, but I'll try to write it down one more time! :)

D.C. is an amazing place to visit, and how neat that you were able to see the Lincoln Memorial, too! And no! I didn't see that step, and I confess I hadn't even made that connection about MLK Jr. But what a great experience for your boys!

And I think "humbling" is just the right word for being in Washington D.C.--surrounded by history and so much grandeur.

Thank you for your kind words and for stopping by!

~Amber