Hubby was at a lengthy meeting with scientists from Norway all day yesterday. This is a big meeting where a huge number of scientists in lots of disciplines from Norway come to meet and exchange ideas with scientists in the U.S. At the cocktail party last night hubby was talking to one of the high level administrators who asked him, "If there was only one day to spend in D.C. what should I see?" The answer that hubby gave him, surprised the visitor. Hubby didn’t recommend the Air and Space Museum or the Museum of Natural History or any of the popular art galleries.
Hubby said: "Washington D.C. has much to see and it would be hard to see it all in one day. But, I would recommend the following: The Roosevelt Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial. Read the words carved in granite at each of these memorials, because they reflect the important ideas on which this country was founded. These ideas are what America is really about, and we will get back on that track someday."
Needless to say, this well-traveled Norwegian was surprised and impressed by my husband’s suggestion. I hope he follows up.
My favorite is the Roosevelt Memorial. Most people miss it because it is located at the West Basin Drive which is usually only frequented by tourists during the cherry blossom festival. This memorial covers a good amount of space with four outdoor 'rooms' or 'retreats' built from walls made of red South Dakota granite. It is a very peaceful and quiet place and creates an atmosphere where one can ponder the meanings of the words. It makes me smile to note that all of these words were written before I was born.
For those of you who cannot visit D.C. the quotes from FDR are too many to post but here are a few from each room (comments in parens after some quotes are, of course, my two cents):
"No Country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order." Second Fireside Chat on Government and Modern Capitalism, Washington, D.C., September 30, 1934. (Those who are against funding work shelters for illegal immigrants need especially to read this!)
"I never forget that I live in a house owned by all the American people and that I have been given their trust." Fireside Chat on Economic Conditions, Washington, D.C., April 14, 1938. (Can you imagine GWB saying this instead of “I have a mandate.”?)
"We have faith that future generations will know that here, in the middle of the twentieth century, there came a time when men of good will found a way to unite, and produce, and fight to destroy the forces of ignorance, and intolerance, and slavery, and war." Address to White House Correspondents' Association, Washington, D.C., February 12, 1943
"They (who) seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of individual rulers call this a new order. It is not new and it is not order." Address to the Annual Dinner for White House Correspondents' Association, Washington, D.C., March 15, 1941.
"More than an end to war, we want an end to the beginnings of all wars." Undelivered Address prepared for Jefferson Day to be delivered April 13, 1945.
Where are the descendants of Roosevelt when you need them?