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Feeling of pride and sadness
September 20, 2011 - Pam Rodgers
At the beginning of August, I wrote about a few of the stops on my vacation to the Virginia and D.C. area. I was looking through all of the pictures I took while on the trip, and I came across one that I will never forget.
On our stops in Washington D.C., we visited the Smithsonian. It’s definitely not something you can see in one day, or one trip for that matter if you want to visit the other locations near the Mall.
One of the main buildings I wanted to visit was the Air and Space Museum. I have always been fascinated by that topic, and I was excited to get to see all of the artifacts and exhibits that started the industry. I knew I was going to get to see the Space Race exhibits and the Wright Brothers’ plane. The most memorable thing about the visit was something I couldn’t have possibly prepared myself for.
There were exhibits for the aircraft used in World Wars I and II. I walked into the WWII exhibit excited to see it for personal reasons. In previous blogs, I have mentioned that my grandfather was a radio operator for the Army’s bomber planes. The very first thing I saw was the display of the very type of plane that my grandpa served in during the war. On display was the nose of the plane (I can’t remember if it was a replica or an actual plane used in the war). They had a panel of fiberglass so you could look through and see the pilots cabin and surrounding area. Immediately to left of the display was the radio operator’s seat.
I wasn’t prepared for the reaction that I had to it. I think I started to tremble a little as I searched for my dad to point out that he could see where his father would have sat while serving his country. I took as many photos as I could, hoping that my shaky hand wouldn’t mess up the focus. I’m not big on crying in public, so when my vision got blurry, I had to go find somewhere to hide.
I’m not sure why I reacted that way; I guess my sappy side got the better of me (not that there is anything wrong with that). Grandpa passed away in 2006, but I knew all about his duties during the war (he even taught me that di dah di was his code because it stood for 'R' in ‘Rodgers’ in Morse code). I have watched the video of him talking about his time in the service and his descriptions of what he experienced. I have seen his photos, been through his trunk and even tried on his uniform when I was a kid. But I guess hearing about it and seeing what it looks like are two very different things.
I am so glad we went there that day. It is a nice visual to go with the stories grandpa used to tell us.
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Here is what it looked like! Grandpas would have sat in the seat to the left.