All of our chest thumping patriots on the forum must be in winter hibernation, possibly hoping to sleep of the Obama times.
I believe I posted a comment in my travels area, but I was in Washington DC for this Veteran's day 2009. I had a day of classes and a great desire to stretch my legs in the evening, so I put on my jacket and topcoat, my beret to keep my head warm, and took an umbrella from the hotel and headed out into the dark and rainy night. My first landmark was the White House, appropriate since Obama was n his way to a stop in Anchorage on his way to Asia. Nice grounds and nice walking. From there it was past the Washington Monument and on to the Jefferson Monument, quite impressive and quite quiet as I was the only visitor on that cold and wet night. The park ranger helped orient me (no sun to navigate by, no visible moss on the trees, and besides, i didn't know the neighborhood!).
I walked by the Franklin D Roosevelt monument, starting with a hello to Mrs Roosevelt, quite an influence in the world in her time. The Lincoln Monument was next, and that is where the crowds were gathered. I was more impressed with Jefferson, perhaps because I had it all to myself and the architecture and quotations were quite impressive.
It is wonderful to think that we built these great monuments without the oppression that our ancestors suffered to build the monuments of Europe!
From there I went on to ... ran across the Korean War Memorial when I expected the Vietnam Memorial. There was one other fellow there and a bus load of chattering students as I was leaving, but I had the Alone Time to walk along the granite wall and to observe the images of the soldiers come out and disappear as I walked past, rather ghostly ... was it holograms carved in the stone? Then up and around the adjacent field of soldiers, all in white as I walked past facing their advance. The wet feet, the cold hands and again the ghostly appearance of the soldiers from the night dark and the localized cloud of fog seemed terribly appropriate. That was the only cloud of fog I encountered that evening. This is the war that taught me as a child that barbarians torture, as the North Koreans did to Americans in this war. Americans don't torture, and hopefully the aberration of that Coward Bush will not be repeated.
From there it was on to the Vietnam Memorial, that scar of granite in the ground, quite controversial when it was proposed and built ... and today the new, much imitated standard. I ignored the three conventional statues erected nearby to placate the conservatives of the time; my mission was to visit the compatriots who served in that war and were not as fortunate as I. Happily the day's ceremonies were past and I was one of only half a dozen visitors. A too chatty volunteer veteran was there to point out the 1967 - 1969 area of the wall that I was most interested in. It seems those two (or three) years compose half of the names listed on the Wall. I believe MacNamara was honest enough to admit that Johnson realized the war was unwinnable early on, and the end result was about 30,000 additional names on the Wall because Johnson was unwilling to withdraw and have his name associated with 'losing' a war! I have pissed on his ranch and someday wish to piss on his grave.
That was my Veteran's Day 2009. I don't feel a compulsion to ever return; I have made my pilgrimage and the wet feet and cold hands and the rainy, cold and dark night were quite appropriate.
Thank you for that wonderful description of your walk around DC. I have been there twice, once as a child, and again in 2005 for business. That most recient visit was inspiring but mostly heartwrenching. I was there in January, it was cold and snowing. I spent a little time at the Lincoln Memorial but mostly at the Vietnam Memorial. What a waste. I lost a boyfriend to that war and several friends.
On another note; how did your visit to Pittsburgh go?