I cried my way through Washington, D.C.
I was overcome patriotic feeling: loving my country, loving our people, and wanting us to be more brave and open than we are at this current moment in history. But D.C. showed me that this nation has seen ups and downs before- we shall overcome.
Lincoln and McClellan
Our gorgeous hotel, The Churchill, happens to overlook a monument to someone I abhor (historically speaking). George McClellan was kind of a dick and really rude to the GOAT, Abe Lincoln.
Needless to say, I accept how handsome the statue is but I rolled my eyes- the man accomplished very little in the Civil War. Lincoln on the other hand was everything.
I wept reading his Gettysburg address again and the 2nd Inaugural. Just looking at that face is enough to throw me into an emotional state- has there been a more honorable American brow? I think not.
What does it mean to be a patriotic American?
Patriotism means different things to each of us, but as my husband and I walked through the Vietnam Memorial, and then The World War II Memorial, I had to acknowledge that one of our ideals is sacrifice.
We sacrifice for American ideals and our individual freedoms.
I think every American should be grateful to our living heroes in the military and our veterans. We must do more than think of who didn’t make it back once a year on Memorial Day. We can do that and yet be truthful that many of the wars we continue to fight are pointless and fruitless. It doesn’t diminish the sacrifice.
WW2 was a war of good vs. evil of such epic proportion levels that we often lose sight of the sacrifice of individual men and women. The memorial has one area devoted to the Price of Freedom. The wall has 4,048 gold stars, each representing 100 Americans who died in the war.
National Museum of American History
Several new exhibits brought close to mind and soul where we have been as a people and where we are going, back at the National Museum of American History, under the umbrellaThe Nation We Build Together.
I loved two of these exhibits: Many Voices, One Nation, which points out that our greatness as a nation is our plurality. We do not have a homogenous culture, but rather come together best when we share values. The exhibit names American Democracy: A Leap of Faith blew me away. Seeing where Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence alone was worth the trip.
Yet the object that moved me most, and what spoke to me about the entire dream of the United States is the suitcase of a Holocaust survivor, Camilla Gottlieb. America is freedom from want, persecution. My parents were ardently in love with this country, and taught me to love it. We have so much to learn from our history.
Finally, a word about being united. We won’t rise to the greatness we can achieve without working together and listening to each other’s grievances. That is our struggle: to achieve the goals of our Founding Fathers and Mothers and increase opportunity and freedom.