I know I speak for all of us when I say we were captured by the history, the symbolism, the richness, and the dignity of what we saw. I shake my head when I think how we didn’t have time to visit any of the museums or more of the monuments. We made the most of our trip, though. We disembarked at the Jefferson Monument first, taking the steps quickly, excited to see with out own eyes, what we had only seen in pictures.
We boarded our trolley and went to the Lincoln Memorial and I have to say that to walk on the steps of so much history took my breath away. I had seen news reels of Martin Luther King’s famous speech. I recalled my readings about the President Lincoln, the Civil War and it’s aftermath, the Civil Rights movement and the March on Washington, and how these events impacted so many of us. The symbolism of the four of us, two African-American women, one Indian from Ghana who came to American as a young child, and I, American of Mexican descent in front of the Lincoln Monument did not occur to me until later when I saw the picture. What I was experiencing at that time was the personal significance of being a woman of color, third generation American of Mexican descent, whose grandmother was undocumented until she received her citizenship in her senior years, with a man of color as President, as the daughter of a retired Navy Chief Petty Officer, as the wife of a Purple Heart recipient, as the mother of an active duty Navy Aircrew member, I had never been more proud to be an American.
Those of you who have visited my posts know my husband is a Vietnam veteran. Visiting the Vietnam Memorial has been a lifelong dream of mine. Once the trip to DC became a reality, it was my mission. Before I met my husband, I had studied the history and read fiction on the war. When we married, I became of student of PTSD, wanting to understand the condition that not only held my husband in its grasp, but permeated the psyche of so many veterans. I knew it would break my heart, but I was compelled to visit the granite gravestone that held the names of so many loved ones.
(to be continued}