Thursday, April 2, 2009

A Monumental Visit

With our sales meeting completed, I had time to make my way to the heart of Washington DC and do a quick monument tour. The weather was marginal, but the cherry blossoms were near their peak, the mall was full of folks, and I was able to see all of those landmarks that I really wanted to see.

All of it was moving and inspiring in its own way, but I got a little choked up in a couple of areas. Lincoln was way more impressive than I expected, and upon reading the inscription of the Gettysburg Address on one of the walls and reflecting on the times and environment in which it was delivered, I was touched and moved.

The war memorials were incredible - each in their own way. WWII made me so proud of the shared sacrifice the county made during perhaps the darkest time in human history. It awes me to think of the sacrifices made by that generation, and I shamefully surmise that if history asked my generation to do the same, we'd come up woefully short.

The Korean memorial was haunting, with its images of soldiers on patrol. I was shocked to learn of not only the large losses suffered by the US during that war, but the magnitude of the UN losses above and beyond that. This was a bloody, bloody conflict, and one that feels like it is too often overlooked.

We ended with the most moving - the Vietnam memorial. I could not help but think of my family - the Lewis boys, my Louisiana cousins, my brothers-in-law, heck even my dad and uncle that either served in fighting, served but did not have to go, or did not serve but clearly know those that did and did not come home.
While at the monument, I checked the book, and did not find my surname in it.
The names - all the names - add a sobering magnitude to the country's loss. All of those young men, all so capable of infinite possibilities, all killed in a far away land in a war that was ill advised, poorly run, and dubious in its goals and necessity. On top of all of that, these troops were victims of a vitriol by some that was misguided and, at times, ghastly.

We close with the splendid cherry blossoms. Nature's handiwork, and a God-given gift among man-made things. The blossom offers hope for the coming spring - a promise of rebirth, growth, prosperity, and harvest. Hopefully it serves as a harbinger of such a future for ourselves as well.

1 comment:

  1. I love DC. I love the history surrounding the area. Do I dare say you didn't see your surname on the wall because your relatives shot well? Nah I"m sure it is because they ran well. Then again I've seen how you fare in the swamps. I"m not thinking your/our kin would do any better in the jungle. :)


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