Saturday morning in the very large hallway of a hotel conference center–I’m asking myself, “Where are the cartoons?” Actually, the conference sessions have been interesting thus far, so I can’t complain. But the real eye-openers were last night, in DC.
I took the metro (DC’s subway system) with a group of teachers to the mall, where all of the famous monuments and memorials are. First, let me say I am entirely envious of DC for their metro system. If Dallas had anything close–and no, DART is NOT even remotely so–I would sell my car, and probably go out even more. And be in better shape. The metro is close enough to most things in DC, but you still have to do some walking, which was thoroughly enjoyable.
We visited the Lincoln memorial, which serves as a stark reminder of the cultural and aesthetic debt our country owes to the ancient Greeks. Replace the gigantic statue of Lincoln with one of Zeus, and you might as well be on the Acropolis.
We saw the new WWII memorial–it is glorious and grandiose–fitting for Tom Brokaw’s “greatest generation.” But the one that I think was the most impressive to me, in a very subtle, humble, underplayed sort of way, was the Vietnam Memorial. Nothing like the WWII memorial, almost hidden, whith the black stone walls sunk into the earth, reflecting your own image behind the names of those who died. At night, it takes on a very somber, almost ghost-like quality. There is so much symbolism and psychological meaning one can read into that memorial–one for a war (or conflict, technically) that I think may have affected our American psyche just as much as WWII, albeit in a much different way.
Today, after I’m through with sessions, my hope is to see at least part of the Smithsonian, and hook up with my college roommate, Alexander, who lives in DC.