My oldest is off at a sleepaway sports camp for the week. That left the youngest as a temporary only child. To say he is enjoying it, is an understatement! Today, he and I decided "to adventure." His words. What we chose was something that would leave the older child dead with boredom. So what better time for this adventure, than when she was gone?
We went to a military museum. The indoor part of the facility filled with an amazing collection of artifacts (and some memorabilia like model plane collections) from WWI to present day military. Preserved front pages from Chicago newspapers on significant dates. Three ring binders full of photos. Uniforms and medals donated with handwritten notes still attached. POW items, enemy items, MRE displays, ammunition, models, dioramas, a life sized Elvis cut out in his Army uniform. It was all there. Some well preserved vehicles and equipment sprinkled about the large pole barn housing this part of the museum. After donning a real flak jacket and an Army metal bucket helmet and posing in front of a tank for a photo, we made our way outside.
Wedged between the expressway and a country frontage road, a military equipment graveyard spread out before us. There were a handful of vehicles (five to be exact) that he was allowed to climb on, through, explore, investigate. All of which he did, thoroughly. Pretending to be a gunner in a helicopter. Driving a Hummer with a shot up windshield complete with his own artillery sounds. Popping up through the hatch on a tracked vehicle to point and command troops. He was in full 10 year old boy mode and loving every, single minute of it. After he was done with that, we ventured out into the rest of the outdoor exhibit.
Spread out over a dilapidated parking lot and grassy, prairie like areas, were hundreds of military vehicles and equipment. Tanks, helicopters, jeeps, searchlights, Howitzer guns, planes, missiles, amphibious vehicles, and so on... We were fascinated by the fact that the tanks were sinking into the pavement. Proving we really didn't know just how much they weigh.
Being the daughter of a USAF veteran, planes hold a special place in my heart. It was so sad to see these once great beasts deteriorating in the harsh Lake Michigan winters. But, I saw what joy it brought my son to wander through this graveyard and explore, read, talk, ask questions, postulate theories, and just explore something he loves. History. Specifically, military history.
I spotted these Queen Anne's Lace flowers bobbing their heads in the wind with the (former) military might standing behind them. How many of the men and women involved in the flight and support of these vehicles once picked the Queen Anne's Lace bouquets for their moms? Or scampered through a field dreaming of flying one day? Or have wandered through an equipment graveyard, detailing so much to their mom and will go on to great things?
Queen Anne's Lace is a biennial. It has a two year life span. The first year, rising up out of the ground from seed, no flowers and just hope for survival. The next year, flowers come on in their full glory, but signify and impending death. Couldn't help but to find the scene ironic with the great flying beasts slowly dying in the background.
Taken with a Samsung Galaxy s5 and edited with Adobe Photoshop and Totally Rad's Rad Lab.