Chris and Vanessa
Running isn't everything, but it sure is everything I want it to be. And on this special day -- D-Day for one, the 65th Anniversary of Allied troops storming the beaches of Normandy, taking the world by surprise, and winning the hearts and minds of people like me.
Today, I had my share of personally meeting and thanking the wonderful, warm-hearted war veterans at the World War II Memorial, people like Welsey Niccolls who single-handedly changed all the radio frequencies prior to the invasion of Okinawa and Heroes like SSgt Michael Bartolomeo who won a Bronze Star for saving the lives of two of his wounded comrades.
You would think that I had my share that day -- the day that I should have been home studying for perhaps the biggest exam of my life, only 48 hours away -- the day that I had just leisurely laced up my Brooks Beasts to go on a mindless jog, or so I thought, until the socialite in me ran into folks I truly wanted to meet and know.
I had run by it over a zillion times before during the last three years -- more than I ever wanted to count or remember. Sometimes I noticed the travertine marble columns, distinctive and grand.
Sometimes I noticed kids running in circles chasing virtual squirrels or big balloon balls, free as the spirit like battle-worn kites soaring tenaciously around the obelisk of the Washington Monument.
Sometimes I noticed the homeless man, sound asleep, or looking listless and tired, a brown bag in one bitter hand.
Sometimes I would run right by it, wouldn't even care to notice it at all. As the first war memorial to be erected in West Potomac Park (now there are four), and now DC's only War Memorial (commemorating the citizens of DC) who served in World War I, the 47 foot tall, circular structure had unfortunately fallen into such disrepair in recent days that it had become sadly, unnoticed and under-appreciated.
That's why I was so shocked to see what I stumbled across that day -- a real life wedding during an amazingly, incredible unbelievable day -- one I'll for sure never to forget.
The Bride, Vanessa Graf and her entourage walking after being exiting her limo on Independence Avenue at West Potomac Park.
Father and Daughter walk towards the the historic DC World War I Memorial
The guests on their feet as the Father and Bride walk towards the altar.
Linda Graf and Sandra Wallace read scripture and poetry
Chris Wallace and Vanessa Graf with the Rev. Brian Hughes conducting the ceremony.
Also Maid of Honor, Victoria Graf.
Bride shedding a tear during an emotional moment.
Bride and Groom taking wedding vows
This was the most beautiful of weddings in the most unexpected of places. The wedding being public and wide open turned a lot of curiosity seeker heads up and down Independence Avenue and those passing to and fro from the Lincoln to World War II. And it turned out to be a picture-perfect wedding in a majestic, historic venue on a most delightful day for two beautiful people to become one. (Too bad, I was in my shorts and Tees.)