Columbus, OH - 10/10/2011

Published at 9:25 PM in , ,

In front of the Ohio Statehouse

Today is Columbus Day! So what better way to recognize this day than to spend it in the city of Columbus!  Even though it is a holiday, we decided to go ahead and see the Ohio state capitol and the downtown community.  There is a great science museum in Columbus, but it is closed on Mondays and Tuesdays, so we will have to skip it this time.  Since it was Columbus Day, we also got free parking! You know we love free!

Free on Columbus Day!

The capitol building was beautiful from the outside, and the surrounding grounds were well thought out.  There were statues of famous Ohioans throughout.  A large statue of William McKinley stood at the front of the building.  Another area had a statue of Christopher Columbus with a fountain built in and important dates inscribed on it.

There was an "Occupy Columbus" demonstration going on on the front side of the capitol.  However, we didn't understand it, because everyone there was protesting something different.  There wasn't one organized theme. Some were protesting capitalism, some the prison system, and yet another wanted children to have the right to vote.  It was a little crazy, but a good learning opportunity for the kids.  We had a young man stop us, wanting an interview.  He is a journalism student at Ohio State University, and wanted to know our thoughts on the "Occupy Columbus" demonstration.  So we shared our thoughts with him.

The East Entrance, Veteran's Plaza

The best part of the grounds, though, was on the east side.  Hanging from the top of the walkway was a service banner displayed.  This has one gold star, indicating a death or deaths in a unit, and a blue star, indicating a unit deployed.  These flags have been in use since World War I, and can be displayed by individual families, too.

My Veteran

The entire east side of the capitol is known as Veteran's Plaza.  It was designed to resemble the areas that the military uses for field formations.  There are fountains surrounded by flowers.   At either end of the plaza, there are two Ohio limestone walls.  Inscribed on each wall are actual letters from service members to their families or friends.  They cover all of the wars from World War II to the Gulf War I.  Some of the service members that wrote the letters were killed or missing in action, and are noted as such.  Somehow the letters transport you to how the families receiving them must have felt.  Words cannot aptly describe the emotions that were stirred.  And then I looked at my own husband, who was deployed, away from his family, and in combat.  It made me almost thankful that I didn't know him then, and that my children never had to feel what so many others did.  I'm even grateful that Taylor was too young to remember him being deployed. I didn't take a picture of any of the letters, but I found one online that I wanted to share.  And this isn't even one of the more emotional ones, but still so moving.

Courtesy of rvtravelog.com; available at http://www.rvtravelog.com/veterans_plaza.dir/veterans_plaza1.htm

I know that this plaza alone made it worthwhile to visit the capitol.  If you are ever near Columbus, make the time to stop by.

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