Friday, July 17, 2009

Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio

Wow, today was a full day, but a good one. Last night we ended up in Somerset, Pennsylvania. Little did we know until we arrived that it is about 10 miles from the National Park Service's Flight 93 Memorial. So, this morning, before getting back on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and continuing our trip, we drove to the memorial to pay our respects.

The road takes a path through the beautiful hills of Pennsylvania, weaving through small towns, woods, open meadows and farmland. Many of the houses along the road display American flags and the drive was so peaceful and beautiful. The last stretch of road, climbs a small rise and at the top is the most beautiful view of a large meadow. A display of flags, high on flag poles, fly prominently against the landscape. Today was a slightly overcast, breezy day. The American flag stood straight and strong against the wind. I was overcome by the sight of it.

The memorial is a small, fenced in area at the end of the road. A shack is occupied by two forest rangers, who work quietly and are available to answer questions. Other than that, the area is filled with memorials from far and wide. Granite stones, homemade crosses, a fence holding a myriad of items including notes, fire helmets, stuffed animals, religious medals. It all seems so intensely personal. The parks service will leave things for as long as they can, space and weather permitting, and then they are stored in an archive.

A dozen benches face the impact site, which is far across the field and fenced off. An American flag marks the fence, so that it can be seen from the memorial site. So many emotions ran through my mind, that I won't even attempt to describe. The drive back to the Turnpike was quiet and somber.

Today's driving was tiring with several traffic jams due to road construction and two torrential rainstorms. We made it to Cincinnati just in time for the Reds-Brewers game. Cincinnati is a very cool city with a beautiful skyline. The Great American Ball Park is right next to the Ohio River. From our seats in the outfield, we could see the river and one of the stone bridges, as well as the visiting team's bullpen. It was fun to see Prince Fielder, winner of this year's home run derby, up to bat. Unfortunately, he didn't get any this game. The home team won, 3-0. We left just before the fireworks show, but could see them light up the sky over the city as we drove to our hotel.

Tomorrow we'll get an early start, as it will be one of the longest days on the road. Dan will be there to greet us when we arrive in Kansas City. We can't wait to see him! And we're all ready to be home, sleeping in our own beds.

1 comment:

gail@more than a song said...

I bet that was something......I think it would make me teary, and maybe upset/mad all over again.