Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Memorial Day in Richmond and other thoughts....


American flag at half-staff on Memorial Day -- May 26, 2008

Where were you yesterday at 3 pm for the moment of silence on Memorial Day?

I was in Richmond. My uncle's name is etched in the walls of the Virginia War Memorial on a hill overlooking the James River ... an uncle I never knew ... a young man of World War II who left rural Virginia and left behind a wife, parents, and siblings (my mother was his youngest sibling) to travel halfway around the world and die in the waning days of the war....

The Memorial Day op-ed in the Waynesboro News Virginian was especially poignant as publisher Lee Wolverton wrote about his grandfather's service in World War II ... and the ultimate sacrifice he paid at Normandy. In "A warrior's spirit endures unbroken," he recounted Lt. Col. Robert Lee Wolverton's final hours on D-Day in 1946 as he led the elite 101st Airborne Division. Lee Wolverton's words assure his grandfather's service will not be forgotten....

I noticed many vehicles on the roadways with yellow ribbon magnets and support the troops magnets ... seemed to be more than usual but maybe I was just paying more attention....

Three things stood out to me on the drive to and from Richmond. First was the number of state police vehicles ... they were everywhere. I'm glad Virginia's finest were out there keeping the roads safe for us. I was amazed at how many we saw along I-64 going and coming ... no holiday for them. Second was the lush green of the trees alongside the interstate. We have had a wet, cool spring and everything has grown up including brush and grass. Third was the number of dead deer on the shoulders of the interstate. The deer population in Virginia has reportedly been growing ... if the number of them killed by vehicles is any indication, I would say that is true....

It was warm in Richmond ... probably around 85 degrees ... and sunny but a stiff breeze kept it from feeling too hot. SWAC Niece spent her afternoon at the pool, kicking off the unofficial start of summer although she still has two more weeks of school....

We drove back at mid-afternoon to avoid the heavy holiday traffic that would be on the roadways into the evening. As we passed Charlottesville and the vicinity of Thomas Jefferson's Monticello, I wondered, as I often do, what Mr. Jefferson would think of all the vehicles zipping along on the interstate between his mountain and C-ville. I often think of Mr. Jefferson when I am driving to Richmond, wondering what it was like back in the 1800s riding a horse or driving a buggy to Richmond for the legislature....

The Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance were hazy, earning their "blue" name....

Ongoing construction on I-64 at Milepost 107 did not slow us down. They were working on the Stockton Creek Bridge just east of the Crozet exit, and because one lane was closed it was restricted to 13' wide. I wasn't sure why they slowed traffic down to 55 mph two miles before the construction site....

As we headed up Afton Mountain a tractor-trailer was broken down on the shoulder. A highway truck had pulled in behind him with a sign urging caution to motorists ... thanks to the highway workers especially on holidays....

When we topped Afton Mountain and drove under the Skyline Drive, the Shenandoah Valley stretched out before us ... we were home. Huge thunderheads could be seen forming behind the Alleghanies and, indeed, a thunderstorm later passed through.

It was good to be back in the Valley.

2 comments:

Scott White said...

Excellent! Great write up!

I used to spend a great deal of time hiking in "The Valley". I have many fond memories and I am so envious of you being able to live there.

Thanks for sharing your wonderful weekend with us!

SWAC Girl said...

Thanks, Scott.

The Valley is still here for hiking ... lots of places in the Blue Ridge and the Alleghanies. Living here is a dream come true for me ... I grew up camping on the Skyline Drive. To actually live in the shadow of these mountains is something I will never grow tired of.

You are near the ocean so there is great beauty there, too ... enjoy those crashing waves and the beach!

Be safe out there! ~Lynn