As I said in my previous post, Helen and I traveled to D.C. to attend the Restoring Honor event(not a rally!) Saturday. We left at 5:30 from CT and arrived at 1:30 or so at the apartment that was loaned to us, G and L and their two kids. A short 30 minute walking distance to the Lincoln Memorial, the site of the event. This was my first trip to our nations capital, and I was not disappointed. Downtown D.C. is really just like any other city, laid out in grids, old buildings mixed with new. After unloading the van and checking out our home for the weekend, we decided to make our way down to the Mall. There is so much to see along the way, so much history! I really couldn't get over The White House, how it's just sitting there in the middle of the neighborhood. I always imagined it as something else, I guess, something more set apart. Viewed from the Washington Monument it really took on the look of just another house on the block. That was OK with me, though. It seemed to fit that way.
We started with the Washington Monument, then down to the WWII Memorial. As I walked among the granite my thought died away. The history that these memorials signifiy, what they mean to the people who were there making the history and how me, too young to really understand WWII, how it fits into my life. Once seen, these works of man for men are unforgettable.
We checked out the stage area (no stage really, he spoke from the lower steps) and made our way up the wide stone steps of the Lincoln Memorial. With Mr. Lincoln sitting and staring out across the Reflecting Pool to the Capitol far away, I couldn't help imagining what is he thinking as he stares across to that great domed building? What would Mr. Lincoln say now, about us, if he could?
As we left we slowly walked through the Vietnam Memorial. Thinking back, one doesn't enter the memorial as much as it enters you. On that hot Friday in August the black stone etched with names is radiating a fierce heat that one feels all the way along that stone path. I knew no names. The wall to me is just a standing honor for those who fought and especially for those who died there. I could only stare into it's darkness as Helen and I walked along. Facing the wall on the other side of the stone sidewalk is a beautiful lawn, sloping up and away towards the trees. Small signs along the way ask us, with respect to the fallen, to please stay off the grass. But the most haunting, loving and patriotic sight I saw the whole weekend was a lone Vietnam vet, black jeans, black tee shirt, black leather vest adorned with just a few decorations, his face, bearded, a beret cocked slightly, this vet standing at attention in the middle of the fine cut lawn, saluting his fallen comrades. I don't know who long he'd been standing there stiff and erect when I saw him, but after a minute or so his hand slowly came down to his side, he stood at attention for a while longer, lingering, then turned and quietly walked away across the grass. I will not long forget that touching act of love.
I'm longer than I wanted to be on this post, I could probably write more but it's late, and getting off my point would be vanity. Stay clear of vanity always. So. Glen Beck. Let me start by saying I'm not a real GB fan, not in the way some (a lot!) of people are. These days, I'm not a fan of anyone, really. My heart, mind and soul belong to God, and with that longing there is no room for anyone else. But I do admire him, for he is to me a breath of fresh air in a world that is too heartless, cynical and mean. Those words cannot really describe how I feel about the world of politics in our country, and I'll just stop here. The event can be seen on you-tube, I suppose, and it was broadcast live on c-span, so I won't get into the exacts itself. Let me begin by saying I was there, so no amount of spinning by media folk can change what I heard and felt last Saturday. GB's message, to me it seems, is a simple one; love God, love your country, stand up for your rights, take care of yourself, help others, etc. Nothing that our parents didn't tell us as we grew up. The only difference is that a grown man is telling us. A man, who, I think, believes strongly in everything he says. I could hear it in his voice, see it in his mannerisms and feel it in the air around me. He appeals to me. I feel he is a humble man, and I like that in him. His ideas for taking back our future, his reverence for history and love of God combined for me into a way in which in my Franciscanism I could reach out and hold his idea of how things could be. His idea of how people should live there lives is not very different than the way I (we!) should live and are living our lives. He may be a Morman, but he really is a Catholic.
I don't know, some people may think this or that about him but I believe he's a straight shooter, and I'm glad I went down to be counted. I went down for my wife, really. She's been to Haiti numerous times, the March For Life, life-changing experiences all, and she wanted me to be part of this event with her. I really glad I went along.
Oh Lord, dark night is upon me
and I have written long.
My soul yearns for you even more
than when I greeted the sun.
Be with me as I rest tonight.