Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Poignant Presidents Day

Seth in front of the Grumman F6F Hellcat
We spent Presidents Day with our cousin Rick at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia. It is an amazing place with hundreds of restored planes from the first Wright Brothers plane to the Enterprise Space Shuttle. While all the planes we saw were amazing for different reasons, my favorite plane was the Grumman F6F Hellcat because it is what my dad flew on and off aircraft carriers in WWII as part of the Navy Air Force. Although my dad never saw combat, he was still engaged in a risky endeavor. According to one source, the U.S. lost 20,633 planes in non-combat circumstances. 14,903 pilots were killed in training accidents within the continental U.S. I couldn't find the statistic for all non-combat pilot fatalities, but a total of 80,655 pilots and air crew were killed. It meant a lot to me to have this picture of Seth in front of his grandpa's plane.

That evening, we ate dinner at Kilroy's, a restaurant in Springfield, VA. It is as much a museum as a restaurant with hundreds of posters and other paraphernalia from WWII. Thankfully, they had more than Spam on the menu.

More good food awaited us. On the 23rd, Boeing Corp. hosted the 10th Mountain Division wounded warriors and families at Pogo de Chao (which means Rodizio Grill in Utahn). We ate until we were almost sick and enjoyed a very warm day here in D.C.

Seth in jeans with Jade
On Saturday evening, we had the distinct honor and pleasure of tending Jade, the daughter of friends Brandy and Tom whom we met back in Ward 57. Jade turned two a few days after arriving here in July, so she has spent almost a quarter of her life here as her dad recuperates.

Seth is now the proud owner of real clothes--jeans without velcro or snaps. We have joked about the Better Butt Foundation--he wishes it could provide him a better butt since most of his was blown off and his jeans just don't fit the same way.

On the way to PT
We were looking at his leg sans ex-fix, and Seth commented on how it really is ugly with the skin graft and scars and all. Yes, it probably is, but it will be a long time, I think, before I don't think it's the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

Speaking of beautiful things, we see so many every day that there's just no easy way to share, but I'm going to try just a few:

  • a wife hugging her husband for the first time when he's standing (hugs aren't the same from bed or a wheelchair)
  • a mom beaming as her son walks on his legs for the first time
  • a double amputee dad wheeling through the Warrior Cafe with his two sons, one on each knee
  • a double amputee getting his running legs and getting so excited he wants to run out the door and out of the hospital
I also see things every day that make me want to weep, but I'll save those for another entry.

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