Yesterday we drove up from Charlotte to Washington. After checking into the hotel, we had dinner in the room, then launched out for a nocturnal walk to the National Mall and Lincoln Memorial. By ‘n by, being doused by a rainstorm we found ourselves taking cover under this unfamiliar rotunda which turned out to be something called the D.C. War Memorial. I snapped this pic:
which turned out to be a much clearer photograph than the one I attempted a few minutes later in the drizzling D.C. night at the Korean War Memorial:
This very dark image of ghostly soldier statues seems to reflect a dim commemoration of a war that was taking place on the other side of the world about the time I entered this world in 1951.
My photographic success brightened considerably when, a few tromping minutes later, we arrived at the Lincoln Memorial and caught this view in the dripping night.
This luminescent sight reminded me of our arrival in Greece a few months ago when, having just stepped out of an Athens Metro station we caught a similarly eerie first sighting of the distant Acropolis, which seemed to hover at the apex of an ancient high-ground hallowed spot.
But that was then, and this was now, which is to say, last night:
We ascended the glistening steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and when we got up there this is what we saw:
Then, wandering over to the glyphed wall-inscription of our war-striven President’s message at Gettysburg battlefield. I was reminded of a scene from my 2007 novel, Glass half-Full. In chapter 6 of that book, we find Marcus and Bridget, a young couple who have recently met, gazing at the inscribed words of the President’s famous speech. Here’s the scene:
They came to an inner sanctum. Carved on the white marble wall in front of them were the words of the slain President’s Gettysburg address. Marcus stopped, taking in the enormity of it, both physically and philosophically. He was looking at the speech intently. Bridget was looking at him.
After a few moments: “Isn’t that amazing?”
“Yes.” She could see that he was thinking hard about something. The great chamber echoed a murmur of humankind.
“Supreme irony.” The longing of a nation’s soul reverberated through the memorial. . .in the soundings of children, the whisperings of passersby. Deep within Marcus’ soul, something sacred was stirring, and she could see it coming forth.
“The world will little note, nor long remember, what we say here, but can never forget what they did here.” He was reading aloud Lincoln’s words on the white wall.
But for the echoes of a million people who had passed through this place, there was silence. After a moment, Bridget responded “. . .and yet, there it is, carved on the wall for all to see. ‘The world will little note what we say here. . .’ ”
“Right, Bridget. Isn’t it amazing?”