Monday, July 11, 2011

Waiting In Line

One of the things I am certain to take away from my visit to Washington D.C. is the almost burdensome amount of history that has been piled up around that place. You can't walk more than a few steps without stumbling over this monument or tripping on that memorial. I confess that I was unaware that Franklin Roosevelt has already been given his own shrine on the shores of the tidal pool that already reflects the Jefferson Memorial. I knew that a plot of land had been staked out for Martin Luther King, but as it was still under construction when we visited, there may have to be a return visit to pay our proper respects to the man Don McLean once referred to as "the holy ghost."
I did stand in front of the graves of "the father" and "the son" at Arlington National Cemetery, and was told that Teddy's memorial was being drawn up even as we speak. The endless rows of marble markers that lined the hills caused my son to ask if his grandfather, who had served his country in Germany driving a radio truck sometime after the Nazis had been driven out and the Cold War was just getting frigid, was buried there. No, I told him, these were strangers, for the most part, which gave him even more pause as we watched the changing of the guard in front of the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It made him reflect even more on our experience of standing in front of all those names etched in black stone at the Vietnam Memorial. So many names to remember. So much history.
And when all is said and done, I will be glad that I did the Daddy thing and coerced my family into waiting for forty-five minutes to get a chance to stand in front of the Declaration of Independence on its two hundred and thirty-fifth birthday. And the Constitution. And the Bill of Rights. The men who signed these documents and pored over every word have long since vanished into obscurity or been immortalized in granite, bronze or marble, but the words continue to live on. Nice work, if you can get it.


Anonymous said...

I tripped on a memorial once. I still get flashbacks, usually at rather inconvenient times.


Anonymous said...

And I still think the Jefferson memorial needs a good edit. But how to erase and re-type granite?