Sunday, September 16, 2012

Tumblring in Washington, DC

I happened to find myself in Washington DC this past week, as 9/11 bled into the horrifying murders of Ambassador Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, security specialist Glenn Doherty and a fourth American whose name I don't think has been released.

Except for a quick visit to the Library of Congress archives three years ago, I had not been in the capital or capitol since a junior high school trip.

The first thing that struck me is the presence of the flag at half staff: unlike NYC, flags are omnipresent, and the constant visual reminder of the national deaths is very poignant.

Our national monuments are impressive, as they need to be to help with the nation building behind E Pluribus Unum. I enjoyed a nighttime bike tour to see their illuminated state, and then returned to see them during the day. That's when they come to life with thousands of visitors: particularly moving are the number of Asian visitors at the Vietnam Memorial, and the elderly veterans in wheelchairs with comrades and friends at the WWII memorial.

Here's my Tumblr-homage to the monuments of the District of Columbia.

Union Station; Jefferson; FDR with Eleanor; MLK; Lincoln; Korea; Vietnam; WWII; Washington; Memorial to the Japanese-American Patriotism in WWII, colloquially known as the Internment Memorial. The names of 10 internment camps are on one side, with the numbers of how many Japanese American were held. My guide said that as the war progressed and the army needed more fighters, men in the camps were conscripted. The names of the men from the camps who died in combat are listed in the bottom picture.


dorki said...

Thanks for the pictures - it has been a long time since I've toured DC. I must see the MLK, WWII, and the Internment Memorial. Since I dealt with Army members in my profession, the Vietnam memorial really struck home. In my view the most artistic and representative of the war itself was the Korean War memorial. The dreary, yet terrifying, situation of that war was well presented.

M.A.Peel said...

Thanks dorki. Interesting thing guide said about the Vietnam Memorial: It was part of the design competition that it have no political statement. However, the way Maya Lin arranged the names are that they start in the middle, with 1959, then read to the right as you look at the wall through to the low end, then continue all the way to the the low left wall, and end back in the middle at 1979.

Years later she said that her implicit statement in arranging the names that way was that all those deaths, snd we're generally right back where we started from.

The terror and fatigue on the faces of the Korea moment is so very life like.