I think I have confused some of my readers into believing that we are in Washington D.C. this week. We are home and I am recounting our vacation from last week. My apologies if I somehow added to that confusion.
Well Thursday last week was an amazing day. Because of my good friend Mark Levin’s efforts, Karen and I received two tickets to be a part of the Pentagon 9/11 Memorial event. What an extreme honor it was for us to attend this solemn yet celebratory day; we will long remember it.
Our seats were fantastic and we have literally dozens of pictures from that day but space allows for only about a dozen to highlight the morning’s event. People began arriving very early; this picture was taken around 6:45:
It didn’t take long for the place to fill up; an email we received two days before the event said they were expecting 16,000. As far as we could see there were not many empty seats:
There were a few famous faces. Gary Sinise, who is an amazing and truly great American and huge supporter of the troops, was sitting two rows in front of us. Karen and I were amazed at how, well rude, people were in autograph hawking. One person came up asking for his autograph saying, “I’m your biggest fan!” Karen overheard another say, “I just loved you in Forrest Gump!” You would have thought we were at the Academy Awards instead of a 9/11 Memorial!
I was able to go up to him quietly after the event and introduce myself and tell him about Eddie and let him know how much Eddie appreciated all he did for the troops in Iraq, especially the school supplies he helps provide for the Iraqi children. You can learn more about Gary’s wonderful charity at Operation Iraqi Children.
The music was phenomenal with the superb Air Force Band:
The singing was amazing with the different service choirs, beginning with the Army Chorus:
The Air Force Singing Sergeants were fantastic:
I particularly liked when all the services came out and sang together:
And what a joy it was to hear from the local J.W. Alvey Elementary School Singing Sunrays:
The speakers were all fantastic and it was very inspiring to hear their remarks:
From left to right are former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, some Secret Service dude, President George Bush, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, and James Laychak, Chairman of the Board, Pentagon Memorial Fund, whose brother died inside the Pentagon.
A particularly poignant moment was when the original men who had unfurled the American flag from atop the Pentagon all came together to do it again. We could not see this side of the building from where we were sitting, but they showed it on the big screen:
The President was pretty choked up throughout most of his remarks:
One part of the speech I remember thinking, “This will become a famous line throughout history,” was when the President said, “On a day when buildings fell, heroes rose…”
Indeed Mr. President, indeed.
Once the dedication part was over, the President and his entourage ended up standing right in front of us on the stage, no more than 30 feet away.
After the event was over we walked to the Pentagon Mall to have lunch. We returned to the Pentagon around 1pm which was our scheduled ticket time to view the memorial up close.
We found Barbara Olson’s bench for whom we donated money to in honor of our son Sergeant Eddie Jeffers:
Karen sat on her bench for a moment to soak in the view and the peacefulness:
Whomever came up with the concept for the park, they were truly inspired. It is a magnificent and majestic park that forever will be open to the public 24 hours a day:
A very fitting monument marks the entrance to the Memorial:
We left that day knowing that we had experienced something truly monumental and feeling blessed by Our Heavenly Father.
Thank you Jesus!