At the annual Memorial Day parade, visitors and residents honored the men and women who gave their lives for their country. Ten-year-old Aidan Rodeschin has a very personal reason to be there: His mother is serving in Iraq.
The men and women marching in uniform reminds him of his mother. Asked what he misses most about his mother, the boy replied, "everything."
Army Lt. Col. Dawn Rodeschin from Lorton has been deployed to Iraq for nine months. Going to the national Memorial Day parade along Constitution Avenue is the family's way of honoring her.
Dawn's husband Darring Rodeschin said it has been "extremely hard" for the family to see her gone.
The parade included a tribute float to the victims of September 11th, just months before the 10th anniversary of the attacks.
"To see some of the families affected by the tragedy...really hits home," said Moses Amidei.
The biggest challenge on this day, thought, was the 90-degree heat. People huddled under trees and officials set up cooling stations. About half a dozen had to be taken to hospitals.
Aidan and his sister Siena are keeping track of the days until their mother comes back home to Virginia. "Seventy-three to be exact," said their father Darrin. "73 days til she gets home."
Wounded warriors of Iraq and Afghanistan were at the parade, along with Miss America and Wheel of Fortune host Pat Sajack.
Veterans pay tribute at memorials
Of course, all of the area's memorials and monuments were packed with people as well. Adrian Dixon visited the Vietnam Memorial wall, the etchings memories forever engraved in his mind.
Another veteran, Tom Curtain, can related. "I get all teary because I lost one of my best friends," he said.
Visiting the memorials is also a way for the soldiers to remember the bond between them. "We need the support of each other. You'll never know the carmaraderie until you've been under fire together," said Army veteran James Bergman.
Hundrdeds of thousands of veterans strong, they face their past and their future together. Bill Baumann served in Vietnam and Korea. Now, his grandson is following in his footsteps, enlisted as a soldier.
Despite the horrors remembered today, there is pride that young men and women admire the sacrifices of yesteryear a