Search This Blog

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


During our years as residents of Washington, DC Peg and I spent a lot of time visiting the various monuments and memorials in the city, especially the iconic ones at the western end of the National Mall. At first it was just us and then mostly taking friends who were visiting.

Early on we decided that it should be required of every public servant in DC, elected or appointed, to visit these monuments and memorials on a regular basis and read their walls.  From George Washington, to Thomas Jefferson, to Abraham Lincoln, to Franklin (and Eleanor) Roosevelt, to Martin Luther King, Jr., to the war memorials of WW1, WW2, Korea, and Viet Nam the words, names, and images remind us of who we are and aspire to be as individuals, communities, a nation, and humanity.

Yes, all of these people were human and had foibles and flaws. Some of them were slave owners, some descendants of slaves, some rich, some poor. Those remembered in the war memorials came from all walks of life. The common thread that seems to run through all of the poetic words and imagery is freedom.

One place where this freedom is elegantly expressed is a wall of the FDR Memorial commemorating his hope for the world - four fundamental freedoms that he said people "everywhere in the world" should enjoy:

Freedom of speech
Freedom of worship
Freedom from want
Freedom from fear 

As we approach Memorial Day weekend in a time when we seem to have lost our way, perhaps this is a good time to again reflect on who we are and aspire to be.

No comments:

Post a Comment