It being Veterans Day, and me not having taken any photos for a while, I decided to grab my camera as I was walking out the door this morning and see if I could get away at lunch and snap some photos. I did.
A nearby park has a Memorial Pavilion that I'd noticed during a work picnic several weeks ago. So, braving the cold weather and the drizzle, I headed over there. Unfortunately, I was having trouble getting inspired by anything inside the pavilion. No one had laid any wreaths or left any flowers. It had a drab, concrete, institutional feel about it, and I don't seem to be able to photograph drab, concrete and institutional very well. I'm working on it.
At the end of my visit, a carload of skateboarders arrived looking to use the shelter of the pavilion. They kept their distance from me and my camera, but I did get this photo. Perhaps, while they were keeping out of the rain, they looked around and thought about the Veterans who had sacrificed their lives. Perhaps. Especially because the pavilion has a plaque recognizing two residents of their own generation who lost their lives in the current wars -- both Iraq and Afghanistan.
I'm sure there must be some sort of Veterans Day observance happening in Des Plaines, where the pavilion is located, but I could find no sign of it at the memorial or by doing a quick Internet search. They had a service there last year. I know, because I could find a YouTube video.
I guess I'm a little bothered that there was nothing at the pavilion to draw attention to the day. On the VFW website, I saw a post lamenting that fewer and fewer people show up for official observances. That might be true, but you don't have to be part of an official ceremony to appreciate the sacrifice of veterans. Maybe if the pavilion had been decorated with a few wreaths or some bunting, then the random people passing through today and throughout the week might have stopped and taken notice.
Just thinking out loud here. That's what a blog is for, right? I suppose I should take my own words to heart, and next year try to remember to bring my own token of observance.
Or maybe it would have been more appropriate for me to be photographing the pavilion on Memorial Day. In the United States, Memorial Day at the end of May is the holiday intended to honor veterans who died in war or as a result of injuries sustained in war, while Veterans Day is intended to honor all veterans, especially those still living.
Any veterans out there reading this? You have my sincere appreciation.