I love it there.
I mean, I love it! I always love Tempe Town Lake, but there's something about the Healing Field that speaks to my very soul. The flags, alphabetized and organized by building and/or occupation both break my heart and bring me immeasurable peace. The haunting sound of Taps floating over a quiet, still group of people as they pause to pay respect to those for whom it is being played is something that I hope I never forget.
The Pentagon section had boots placed at the foot of several of the flags.
Upon closer inspection, the boots were donated by servicemen and women.
(I wonder if the man who wore these boots knew Hawkeye Pierce? ... You know I can't think about the Korean war without thinking about M*A*S*H. And I can't think about M*A*S*H without sighing a deep sigh over my favorite military doctor of all time. ... And yes, before anyone calls the authorities, I do know that Hawkeye is a fictional character. But a girl can dream.)
My favorite moment of the afternoon came as I was walking out of the WTC1 area. There was a group of volunteers, helping someone look for a specific flag/bio. I had overheard them talking, saying "It's W-E-I, not W-I-E..." as they meandered through the W's, looking for a specific flag. I walked right up to a flag on the outside of the field and picked up the bio. Weingard. I held it out, and called, "Are you looking for Scott Jeffrey Weingard? Because, if you are, I've found him." A sweet old man turned and smiled and made his way across the field to the flag representing his friend. The group thanked me. I smiled and said that I was happy to help. As I turned to leave the field, I heard the older gentleman say, under his breath, "I used to babysit him." ... Cue the tears.
May we never forget that day. May we never forget them. ... Ever.