Thursday, April 1, 2010

A Change of Scenery, A Change of Pace

Well, we are now in Virginia, just outside D.C. for the Easter weekend. My sister and her husband live up here and we try to get up at least one a year, but it doesn't always happen. We flew up here with my mother, who will, God willing, celebrate her 90th birthday this coming October. She is moving slower, so traveling is not the easy trip it used to be. But I love that we can be together and wish my brother and his family could make it also.

The cherry blossoms are in bloom all around the Capital. We plan on driving in tomorrow and seeing them in all their glory. I want to go again to the WWII memorial. I always cry, especially when I pull up my father's name in the service computer. Then I want to go over the Pentagon to see the 9/11 memorial.

Washington is a wonderful place to visit our history, personal and national. The many marvels of the Smithsonian, the majesty of National Mall, the bookends of the Capital and the Lincoln Memorial, the reflecting ponds, the cherry trees - all have a story, and those stories all weave into the mosaic that forms who WE are. The United States of America.

A country founded by men with a thirst for freedom, with a desire to be more than mere puppet soldiers to a king many had never seen. Men with something I find to be lacking in out government today - the ability to put aside their personal differences to create a new system, the ability to realize the whole is greater than the part.

My own family came to America as a last recourse. They were Quaker, asked to leave Great Britain because of their religious beliefs. Settling in what would become New Jersey, they started a legacy of farmers who would work the land for more than four hundred years. I went back a few years ago, to show my children where their grandfather came from. It was sobering.

The old farmhouse and out buildings are gone. There is a subdivision on our farmland. But the family plot in the church cemetery is there, reminders of the impact we once had on this small Jersey town. My grandparents are buried there, as is my oldest sister. The church pulpit still bears the plaque noting the donation of my grandparents. There are still people around, growing fewer every year, who remember my father and his sister. Some who even went to school with them.

I live in Georgia, but my spiritual home is here in the North. My family roots run deep in this part of the country. I was born in Pennsylvania, my brother and sister in West Virginia. Northern born, southern raised, American through and through.

I wish I could say that about our government.

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