We were all too tired and it was way too late for cake so we all went to bed as soon as we got home.
After our typical Saturday morning routine, we sat down with George to hear all about his time. He told us about, Williamsburg, Monticello, Georgetown, Gettysburg, Amish food, the Capital, National Archives, Mount Vernon, the FDR memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, the war memorials, Arlington Cemetery, the Eternal Flame, Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, the National Cathedral, Spy Museum, Union Station and more.
He had a lot to say.
I asked him, “What was the best part of the trip?”
“Well, I would not say the ‘best’ part but the thing that I want to go back and see again is the Holocaust Museum.”
My wife and I were a little surprised because we were sure it was going to be the Changing of the Guard ceremony at Arlington that he got to participate in but we were wrong.
“I could not stop reading. I just wanted to read everything in there. They gave us these cards with people on them that were there and they had a story about their lives. I just feel like I want to read everyone’s story. Even the little kids have their own story. I feel like I should know who they are."
"There’s this one part where you walk through a box car that was used to transport the people to the camps. When I was in there I could just feel the fear. It’s like it’s still in there. I was standing right there where people died standing up because they were packed in. People that were being sent to die. It makes me sick to my stomach just thinking about it now.”
I saw him start to tear up a little and he paused. After he caught his breath he continued.
“I saw the rooms they slept in and the bunk beds. They even had this one part where you walk through this sea of shoes. I swear you could swim in these shoes there were so many. They have one pair for every person who was killed. I couldn't believe it and you just walk right through the middle. It was awful to think about all those people. Why would anyone do that? Who could be so ugly?” He stopped again.
He handed us some things he bought from the museum as keepsakes. One was a postcard of the room he described with the path through the huge pile of shoes. I read the words on the picture and welled up too.
"We are the shoes, We are the last witnesses
We are shoes from grandchildren and grandfathers.
From Prague, Paris and Amsterdam
And because we are only made of fabric and leather
And not of blood and flesh,
Each one of us avoided the Hellfire"
My son is growing up so quickly. I can hardly keep up.
I am thankful that his heart is well ahead of him.