GRADUATION!! (Grad School)

Monday, July 23

Found while lost

Today I decided to get out of the house and do something touristy. I have been here for weeks and haven't visited any of the important landmarks. So I thought "what the hey, I will get up early so I can be out before the heat gets too intense." I figured my luck was high when I found a parking spot and someone gave me a pass for free parking. But quickly realized that I needed a better map.

After wandering downtown for about half an hour I made it to the Alamo and paid for an self-guided, audio tour. It was only 10 am but the temperature was already high so I learned quickly that I was going to be sweaty and gross. How do people live here? But it was awesome to see all of the artifacts that have been recovered from the various centuries here. The architecture itself is some of the oldest in San Antonio. Inside the shrine and the long barracks there are no pictures allowed so I didn't take any while wandering. But I did take the opportunity to listen to the story of the battle. One of the older volunteers walked visitors through the battle in the courtyard. I would definitely suggest stopping by if you are ever in San Antonio.

But the coolest part was when I got lost for the second time trying to find my way back to my car. I saw a sign for the central library and wanted to see it. I never found it but I did stumble across a cool old building in the middle of downtown.  And directly in front of the building was the veterans memorial plaza.

A large flag pole in the center of the memorial had it's flag at half mast to recognize the loss in Colorado last week. It also had an inscription dedicating the plaza to the soldiers who served in Vietnam.

To the immediate right of the flag pole was a marker honoring the men and women from San Antonio who served during World War II.  Interestingly it was the smallest marker in the plaza. I thought it an interesting difference between the massive WWII monument in DC, which is much greater than the other monuments.

Past the WWII monument to the far right is a statue of two men in a foxhole, it commemorates the soldiers from San Antonio who served in the Korean conflict. The bricks surrounding the memorial include the names of the men and women who served. The massive foxhole is awesome to see. And not an awesome like "cool dude." Awesome as in awe inspiring. Recognizing that awe, someone had taken the time to drape a flag and flowers on one of the soldiers.

Following the path back around to the other side of the plaza takes visitors to the largest memorial. This memorial was to honor those soldiers from San Antonio that had served and had fallen during the Vietnam conflict.
 Dwarfing visitors, this massive monument includes plaques explaining it's purpose and design. A design which includes and airtight compartment in the middle which includes the names of every soldier that was lost or killed during the conflict. Again flowers had been added by someone. I was amazed at the sense of awe that was created in the middle of a busy downtown. In DC the National Mall and all of it's monuments are cushioned from the real world of the bustling DC metro area. It is expected that everyone will feel the significance of the memorials there. Yet, in the center of downtown San Antonio, this memorial plaza creates that experience on a smaller scale. I spent a few minutes just sitting in the shade of a few trees and enjoying the plaza.

I had fun this morning and look forward to more exploring here in Texas.