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>Home is Where my Dog is

>Ah, my fuzzy L.L. Bean slippers toasting my tootsies and my little zonked Paquita warming my lap means I’m home. A re-cap of our last day in DC:

A bone chilling cold wind greeted us on our way to the Metro which was thankfully only a short step away from our suspiciosly perfume-y lodging (Just what odors are they masking?) at the Lincoln Suites (Lincoln never resided there, I assure you).

The National Archives were not as I had remembered — there has been extensive upgrading and state-of-the-art interactive displays added — but they were informative and interesting despite the confusing, ill-conceived floorplan. Unfortunately, the Inauguration is only days away which means large groups of teens serving as representatives from their states. Teens watch Best Week Ever. They have no discretion or qualms about sacrificing the quality of a historical document to take flash photography of one Mr. F. Christian Finnegan. Choice representatives we’ve gotten ourselves. The State of our Union can be summed up in that awkard three minute exchange. These kids, I assume to be the cream of their crop, were more interested in a guy who makes fun of Lindsay Lohan‘s breast implants than the document that ensured blacks their freedom. Hands down.

The interactive displays were extremely cool and informative, but there is something to be said about seeing the actual letterhead on which Nixon typed his resignation and the indentation of his inked signature versus a computer image of it. There really is no comparison.

That said, the display I most enjoyed was an audio/video display for eight different recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor. By clicking a button next to their respective photograph, you can hear and see the letters of recommendation and the citation for which they received the most distinguished honor bestowed to any American. I defy you to not get a lump in your throat thinking of the extreme sacrifices these ordinary men and woman (singular) made for their comrades. Zowie, they are more unselfish than ever I could be. Which reminds me…I forgot to mention a highlight from yesterday’s Museum of American History visit.

It, too, had a section dedicated to the history of the Medal of Honor and a super fancy interactive device that allows users to search recipients by war, time served, military division or name. I, of course, entered my uncle’s name “John R. Crews” and marveled at how brave he was and how honored his family is to know that somewhere coursing through our blood lies the ability, however slight, to put others before ourselves. We read through his citation and left it there for the next user to read. I hope they did.

Here is the citation for which Congress and President Truman honored him:

Place and Date: Near Lobenbacherhof, Germany, 8 April 1945.

Citation: He displayed conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty on 8 April 1945 near Lobenbacherhof, Germany. As his company was advancing toward the village under heavy fire, an enemy machine gun and automatic rifle with rifle support opened fire upon it from a hill on the right flank. Seeing that his platoon leader had been wounded by their fire, Sergeant Crews, acting on his own initiative, rushed the strongpoint with two men of his platoon. Despite the fact that one of these men was killed and the other badly wounded, he continued his advance up the hill in the face of terrific enemy fire.

Storming the well-dug-in position single-handedly, he killed two of the crew of the machine gun at point blank range with his M-l rifle and wrested the gun from the hands of the German whom he had already wounded. He then charged the strongly emplaced automatic rifle. Although badly wounded in the thigh by crossfire from the remaining enemy, he kept on and silenced the entire position with his accurate and deadly rifle fire. His actions so unnerved the remaining enemy soldiers that seven of them surrendered and the others fled. His heroism caused the enemy to concentrate on him and permitted the company to move forward into the village.

[Read more about the U.S. 63rd Infantry Division.]