Freedom is Not Free

Trip Start May 01, 2013
Trip End May 06, 2013

Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Sunday, May 5, 2013

What started out as a casual day walking on a crisp sunny day from our Guest House to the National Mall to view the memorials turned out to be a day full of questions. We visited the Lincoln Memorial and read Lincoln's artful words that inspire even today, the Vietnam Memorial, the World War II Memorial and the Korean War Memorial.  We continued further on the National Mall and saw hundreds of people participating in a yoga session with the leader encouraging everyone to do the peaceful warrior pose and think peace.  And finally, the Cinco de Mayo Mexican celebration with a mariachi band and dancers in traditional costumes dancing for several thousand in attendance.

Having been in college during the 60’s and the Vietnam War period, we related to the Vietnam War Memorial.  Harvey remembered someone he knew who died in the war.  We wondered – how will people 30 or more years from now remember the Vietnam War?  Will the design, which is seems like a knife gash of black marble with individual names, resound to others in the future as it does to us today? 

The World War II Memorial with its center fountains bounded by two towers with engraving "Atlantic" and “Pacific” and minitowers one for each state seemed more of a park than a memorial.  The individual seemed to be lost here.  Was that the reason that we were disturbed and wanted to move on?

The Korean War Memorial with the larger than life size soldiers seemed to be coming out from the forest and into the open landscape.  The marble wall along the side seemed to have ghosts of soldiers somehow visible.  The walkway had the names of all the countries that fought in this war and at the top water feature, were the number of U.S. and other country casualties.    Harvey and I both said to each other -  maybe it’s time we learned about the Korean War – what were the events leading up to it?  Why is it that we still have 37,000 men stationed in South Korea?  It’s unfortunate that that information wasn’t available at the Memorial, so that the Memorial also could be a teaching moment.  But Google I’m sure will come to our assistance.

At the top water feature of the Korean War Memorial was this large text engraved into the granite:  “Freedom is Not Free”.  Such a simple statement.  

As a springboard for discussion, so many  questions…. 

They just continue and continue…..

It’s now our last night in Washington, DC.  We’ve got blisters on our feet and our minds are saturated with stimulating information.  We’ve managed to go with the flow, take it nice and easy and to eat relatively healthfully so Harvey had only one night of stomach issues – and Chinese soup and vegetables made him feel better.    We’re pooped! 

So the last question I have as I close for the night is – are there any lessons learned from this Washington DC experience on how to pace our upcoming 3.5 month trip to Hawaii and New Zealand so that we are rested, feeling creative and inspired as well as energized? 

The day has been full of questions, but with few answers!
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