Crying for Strangers

Winter decided to come early and stick around here in Northeast Ohio. We had 15 inches on the Northside of my hometown that created a parking lot out of the main streets. Normally when it snows this early on, It melts and there’s not much until Christmas. Well that’s definitely not the case and last night until late morning we got more.

The roadways really weren’t bad this morning, just wet. It was a little slow and snowy, but no problems. About half way into my commute I saw a horrific crash with half a dozen cops, two ambulances and two firetrucks. I gasped and immediately lost it. I don’t know what it is about strangers or people I know through association, but I couldn’t help but cry for this person in the overturned car. Maybe it’s me reflecting on things that have happened to me or family that’s still fresh, but I can’t help but cry dor them and their family.

Recently, we’ve had family trauma as my cousin, only 19, was diagnosed with non Hogkins lymphoma on his birthday. He’s been doing great with his battle after just 3 months, but this week has been a little bit of a struggle.

Six short weeks ago, my dad’s cousin and best friend was killed along side his brother in a construction accident. I didn’t know his other cousin as well as Cousin Mike,  but it had a great affect on me as these two men were only 54 and 56 with families left behind. Last week we got word from their family again, in Oklahoma,  that a third brother had a heart attack and died while driving. The shock and horror that my dad’s cousin’s family has most likely felt in the past 2 months is insurmountable. One of the hardest parts of all of this is yesterday I opened my dad’s journal (in plain sight, by the way) and turned to September 20th. It read, “One of the ugliest days of my entire life. Mike and Dan were killed in a construction accident when the crane toppled over. One of the hardest calls I made was to Michelle  (Mike’s wife) to check on her and she is trying to cope and comprehend the whole thing.” My dad is not one to talk about his emotions, but here too he is someone I cry for. When something doesn’t directly effect you personally it can still have a dramatic effect on you.

So, I pray for that person in the flipped over car and his/her family.

Visiting our Nation’s Capital

Mirrors made from old tiles in Eastern Market

I’ve had several trips to the capital before, but the timing of this one made it something special. My college friend, a local Washingtonian, had welcomed me into her very small, but quaint home for the weekend. On my other two family trips to our main goal was to see as many monuments and Smithsonians as we could. My main goal of this trip was to avoid museums, monuments and Smithsonians as much as possible.

We lucked out with some seriously beautiful weather!
We lucked out with some seriously beautiful weather!

We woke up Saturday and headed for Union Station. We walked briefly by the capital, allowing for one picture, which was under construction so not much to see there anyway. Our destination was Eastern Market where we walked around and looked at crafts and food. Although by far out of our price range, it was really neat to see what the locals had created. One man had pictures from places all around the world that he had taken personally and were now for sale. We stopped for food at a small place called Prego Deli. My friend hadn’t been their either, but it turned out to be absolutely delicious. We stopped in a small bookstore that was so crowded the books were shoved in every empty slot there was. A brief walk through Chinatown and we headed to the White House to eat our paninis. The usual demonstrators strayed us from sitting there long, so we headed back to her house and ended the night with Peronis and pizza then off to the bars.

Eisenhower Building behind the White House
Eisenhower Building behind the White House

Sunday we walked around the city of Georgetown and to the University. The University was remarkable with all it’s old buildings. It was a relatively quiet campus compared to the streets of Georgetown with it’s lines of people waiting to get a cupcake at Georgetown Cupcake. The houses in Georgetown are beautiful and quaint. Beyond the hustle and bustle of the main street, it was very quiet and calm in the neighborhood areas.

In a post I wrote about a year ago, I explained that I had a fairly severe anxiety disorder that has lessened overtime and how important my solo trip to Richmond, VA was to me. So, on Monday I set out completely by myself and sort of just wandered. I surprised myself with my ability to navigate and how comfortable I felt just walking around the streets alone, even when when I told my mom she was shocked at how unlike me it was. I walked around the National Zoo and down to Dupont Circle and just kept aimlessly walking. I picked up a salad at Sweetgreen and with no where else to go, I decided to head towards the White House. Once I got near all the monuments it dawned on me how truly miraculous all of them were. Each one had it’s own spectacular thing about them and I was able to spend however long I wanted at each and I think I was able to appreciate it more than when I was 9 or even 19.

From the Atlantic to the Pacific, World War II Memorial
From the Atlantic to the Pacific, World War II Memorial

Being the day before Veterans’ Day, there were Veterans everywhere. My first stop at the World War II memorial had World War II Vet sharing stories with a young couple. The Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial had more tourists groups, but the Vietnam War Memorial had tons of Vets. I passed a dad explaining to his young children what the memorial was all about and it’s importance to the US and made my way down to the rows and rows of names etched into the black granite. There were so many Vets with their Vietnam Veteran hats on standing by the wall. wpid-img_20141110_213847.jpgAs a civilian, I could never imagine serving in a war where so many of my friends and family never came home. My hat really truly does go off to these men and women who served and the men and women who continue to protect our country today. I think as a civilian, we tend to take for granted those who serve because we don’t always directly see how great of an impact they on our freedom on a daily basis. So today, on Veterans’ Day, take the time to thank those you know who have served or are currently serving and respect those who keep us free day after day.

Happy Veterans day and thank you to all the men and women of our United State Military.