Memory holds the voice I have often heard.

Title quote from “Apart” by Louis Simpson and Marceline Desbordes-Valmore.

Thomas Jefferson's words

Washington, DC is a weird combination of idealism and cynicism all at once. Or maybe I am the only one who feels that way. Our country was founded with beautiful words on beautiful things, but politics these days is such an ugly mess. Visiting DC, though, brought out my most patriotic and idealistic side, the part that cries at the words on the Lincoln Memorial, at the stars representing the dead on the World War II memorial, at the veterans we saw rubbing names on the Vietnam Memorial.

White House and Washington Monument

Mike did not get to take his kids to DC this year like they usually do. They ended up making another trip to a closer location, and he came back from that and mentioned that the students might have gotten more out of the trip they ended up taking rather than the DC trip. I get that, because I went when I was in 5th grade (20 years ago, yikes), and when we went and saw the Constitution, I was like, “Oh.” However, looking back, I think of that like this: “I got to see the CONSTITUTION. Of the UNITED STATES. That is SO COOL.” (For those of you who were wondering if I was always this nerdy, apparently the answer is no. Wait until you see how nerdy I can get in 20 more years.) Even though I just barely remember the Lincoln Memorial from 20 years ago, I still think it would be good for him to take his students if possible, just to give them the chance to experience it. So when they go as 30-year-olds, they can be amazed at how much smaller the names look on the Vietnam Memorial, how much more of Lincoln they are able to take in. So they have a foundation from which to appreciate it even more.

Lincoln Memorial

I am not good at wringing meaning out of every moment. I am not sure that’s even possible; sometimes life is just about the living rather than some big thing we are supposed to be getting from it. But I would like to believe that it is possible that one day I will look back on the things I am struggling with now as a foundation that helps me appreciate my life. I might not be getting everything I can out of what I experience. But when I look back, I hope the pain, like those names, is much smaller than I remembered.

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