Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Memorial Day Remembrance

a cut-and-paste LINK for Rolling Thunder Hits the Streets of Washington photo gallery)
http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/rolling-thunder-fills-washingtons-streets/2011/05/29/AGBxMDEH_gallery.html?hpid=z6#photo=1

If there's one thing you notice about Washington D.C., it's the noise, the rush on the streets. Everyone has somewhere to go and are in a whirlwind to get there. The streets even have digital timers. I had about 20 seconds to cross busy intersections with my huge, post-surgery foot in tow. I'm willing to wager, if Mississippi had street timers, our behinds and mid-girths would be a lot less in circumference.

And the bikes - - dotting the streets dashing in and out of mega-paced traffic. From businessmen in suits to businesswomen in skirts, these folks pedal. And there's essentially no bike shame. There were high-end bikes, rusty bikes, vintage bikes, bikes strapped to light poles missing a front wheel, cruiser bikes. It doesn't matter. These folks want to get from point A to point B using the fastest means possible other than cars that get trapped at intersections. Needless to say, the ratio of fat people there, was lower than the Mississippi landscape.

Amid the chaos and clamor of Washington streets, the tourists vaulting for museums and towering government buildings, there are places of solitude. It's there.

The highlight of my recent D.C. trip was where solitude lives among the chaos. It is not the noisy Smithsonian or other museums that line the Mall, but the monuments - - the testaments of history of where we've been as a nation that grab the soul.

The Vietnam Wall, The World War waterfall, the Korean War Monument were all places of absolute respect. These are places where it becomes difficult to keep a dry eye. These are places of sacrifice for those remembered and those left behind. These are places, especially the Vietnam Wall, where hands feel names, where red carnations are dropped and where people gaze behind sunglasses that are places of stillness in big city madness.

But the Lincoln Memorial has my soul. Walking into this ginormous open structure with Lincoln overlooking all, the Gettysburg Address etched on a wall and the Potomac River just outside, well, I have never felt so small in my entire life. I realize how small a piece of the human puzzle I am. Very small, indeed.

The American legacy intersects there, and it melts the heart into humble pieces. This Memorial Day, I carry these places inside, remembering the quiet among the clamor and those that made those special places possible.

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