Over the weekend we traveled to Washington D.C. as a family. I had been invited to come and meet with folks from the Chronicle of Higher Education and decided to extend it into a weekend in the city with my family. All day Saturday was spent walking around the National Mall looking at the Monuments. While my daughter was very interested in seeing everything and teaching my wife and I about the history of it all, my Son seemed more eager to simply climb on walls. Last night when my wife was putting my Daughter to bed she talked about how impacted she seemed by the experience. The Vietnam Memorial seemed as though it had the most impact on her. It is a stunning and emotional memorial and I think it may have been a little heavy for my little girl.
I'm still trying to make sense of the whole trip and the things we looked at. I've been to the National Mall at least a dozen times, but this was the first trip I made with my children. It pushed me to look at it all with very different eyes with a much deeper perspective. While standing taking in the WW II Memorial a group of WW II Vets came in together with their eyes as wide as mine. My wife and I watched them with awe and respect ... wanting to just walk up to them and thank them for what they endured for us. What I struggle with is my own internal conflict between my deep interest in living in a peaceful World and the cost of maintaining that peace. Really tough stuff to reconcile. But at the end of the day, I was most taken aback by the sight of my three year old boy's reflection in the Vietnam Memorial as he walked by.
A wonderful, but complex trip.