Over the weekend Giles and I visited the Washington D.C. area for a family wedding. On Sunday we took the day to worship at a beautiful parish that is going through some difficult times and then ventured onto the National Mall to visit the many monuments and memorials.
I have briefly passed through D.C. before but hadn’t taken much time to stop and take in the memorials. I expected to feel a sense of national pride, of honor at the men and women who have sacrificed so much for this country. Instead I was hit with a profound sadness. This was most powerfully felt at the Vietnam Memorial as I saw men and women grieve for the loss of their own loved ones. Even the less personal memorials (especially the Korean War memorial) still felt somber.
Reflecting on a visit to Auschwitz, someone told me that their experience was “casualties are casualties; souls are souls. I hope it makes people sad, not happy.”
The Ulysses S. Grant Memorial in front of the United States Capitol Building.