I had the privilege of traveling to our nation’s capital last week for a conference and stayed on for a few extra days to be a tourist.
The Grill-Meister joined me at the end of the work component of my trip, and my cousins who live in Washington, DC were our hosts and tour guides.
My niece, also a DC resident, was with us for most of the events. We are so blessed to have these wonderful people in our lives.
It felt great to be on a mini-vacation, post-COVID, with loved ones.
We just got home tonight.
The Washington Monument
There were many memorable moments that I will share with you, but for now, just some images of the Washington Monument, four different views.
It really is beautiful, and striking. The epitome of elegant simplicity.
Election Night Viewing: By the Light of the Moon
My colleague and I walked the whole length of the National Mall on Election Night after our conference closed for the day. It was stunning to see the monument lit by the full moon above. It was silvery and magnificent.
And here’s another picture from that moonlit Election Night walk.
Luminescent in Daytime
On Saturday, it was a pleasure to be with The Grill-Meister for his first visit to the National Mall, joined by my cousins. “The monuments,” he kept saying, “I’ve gotta see the monuments”. So of course we did.
The Washington Monument was showing off for him, it seemed. The light was stellar, bathing the stone obelisk in a warm gold glow against the backdrop of a blue-gray sky. It was breathtaking, don’t you agree?
And just a little later, from a different perch (the Jefferson Memorial), the monument blends more naturally with the now-pale sky, like a watercolor.
Legacy: It’s Complicated
There is much to admire in George Washington’s legacy.
He was a force of nature as our country came into being.
He was principled, innovative, driven, inspiring, humble and self-sacrificial, But there’s no need to whitewash the fact that that he could have done in the interest of freedom for all.
Rather than trying to opine as an amateur, here’s an article from UVA that makes the point: GEORGE WASHINGTON: IMPACT AND LEGACY.
Steps Forward and Reaching for the Sky
To me, the obelisk shape of the monument is a symbol of reaching.
Reaching for the sky with our ideals.
And yet, illustrating that we are not there yet.
Our ambitions larger than our capabilities, we yearn to grow, to learn, to become better. As Washington did, I think.
And that’s the beauty of the National Mall and the national monuments and museums overall – they reflection our journey as a nation as we celebrate our successes while we also face our failures and opportunities for growth, understanding, forgiveness and refreshed understanding of what it means to be American from every lens, not just the lens of white Americans of European ancestry.
Upward and onward, like the obelisk…
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