Sunday, April 28, 2013

Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory and Other Stuff

I took the kids to Washington DC for a long weekend. It was beautiful weather while we were there. The dogwoods and the cherry were in bloom. The first day i stayed in the hotel room nursing my daughter who came down ill on the flight. I read all the newspapers, including the free ones in Spanish from the stands in front of the hotel and watched C-Span and Judge Joe and a book of English short stories my wife picked up at the transfer station in our town a few weeks ago. The most peculiar show, though not the worst, was the Roamin' Catholic, from the religious channel, which depicted shrines and holy sites from around the world from a green screen while the guide in a Hawaiian shirt frolicked in front of the non-moveable backdrops and recited facts about them. Even the sacred and holy gets reduced to banality on television. But the real world was still mysterious and awe inspiring. At night my wife and I walked to the Lincoln Memorial and witnessed the parade of school trips on the steps of the memorial while the full moon shone on the mall and an older man explained to anyone who would listen that no photograph of the Lincoln statue is ever in focus because Abe has a twitch in his leg and sure enough my photos all came out a blur, but that's because my camera sucks.  The moon shining on the mall and the government buildings on the ridges made me think of ancient Roman ruins.
When you go down to Washington DC it becomes clear that we are greater than the sum of our parts. Democracy is an awesome thing when it works, and even when it's messy. And we carry forward a legacy of greatness.
The next day my son gave me a guided tour of the Air and Space Museum. He has memorized the whole thing from the Wright brothers through to the space program. Then I took him out to Annapolis to see the Naval Academy and he noted afterwards in the introductory video before the tour the use of the word indoctrination twice in regards to the midshipmen and the education they receive, and he said he never thought he'd hear that word used in a positive way. I guess he is growing up and becoming discerning and that should be a comfort to me, but ironically i am finding more of a use for words like honor and country in my elder role. But we did see the crypt of John Paul Jones carried on the backs of the dolphins. That will probably stay with me for a while.

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