We take the Metro to the National Mall to watch the Arsenal of Democracy World War II Victory Capitol Flyover. We walk to the western slope of the Washington Monument grounds and stake our claim. A black dog sits nearby and pants in the bright sun. We eat our simple picnic lunch on a blue plaid blanket in a dense forest of legs, lawn chairs and tripods. My girl passes the strawberries around, one eye on the sky.
The first warbirds appear just to the right of the Lincoln. He raises his binoculars to his eyes. I hear the clicks of a thousand camera shutters. Veterans and distinguished guests are gathered for a service at the World War II Memorial below. The public address system shouts sentiment, fills in the space between flyovers. I feel the engines in my chest, and close my eyes to imagine war, death, and life, the sound of victory rattling my ribcage.
When the last formation passes, the speaker asks the crowd to stand for Taps. All of the chatting and clicking stops, and we are hushed and reverent as we listen. As the last note falls away, I sweep one finger behind my sunglasses to wipe my eyes.
On our way back to the Metro station, we wander through the farmer’s market and make new friends. We cool off underground as we wait on the platform for our westbound ride home. As the train heads towards Rosslyn I say we’re under the river now, so they can imagine the car full of fish and current.