I made a visit to Mount Vernon, home of one of our Nation’s Founding Fathers, where my footsteps retraced, along with those of millions of visitors, over the footsteps of this great man. As I passed by his tomb, the air whispered in my ears in a proud tone: You may have retraced his footsteps, but it was I who carried the tone of his voice to the soldiers he commanded in pursuit of liberty and witnessed his setbacks as well as his greatest victories and achievements!
I made a visit to Monticello, home of Thomas Jefferson, another of our Nation’s Founding Fathers, where I walked through the mansion and passed through the vineyards. The air whispered in my ears with joy: He breathed my molecules so I was able to witness firsthand his genius; his lofty ideals that influenced the writing of the US Constitution along with John Adams, Thomas Paine, and others; and his integrity as a human being. I was there during the sendoff of the Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Louisiana Purchase!
I made a visit to Lincoln’s Memorial and came face to face with a statue of this brave and great President, who is credited with preserving the Union and the issuance of the Emancipation Proclamation and the Proclamation of Amnesty and Reconstruction. The air whispered in my ears in a sad tone: For years, I have watched him anguish over the evils of war and all those who died as a result of. He carried this burden on his shoulders until he died. His decisions culminated in turning a new chapter in our Nation’s history and a steady move towards justice, fairness, and human dignity. I also witnessed the horrific assassination of this great man by the cowardly act of John Wilkes Booth.
I made a visit to Arlington Cemetery where I was humbled by the brave men and women who gave up their life for the sake of our Nation—to include our courageous President, John F. Kennedy and his fight for fairness, justice, and civil rights. The air whispered in my ears sobbing: You have no idea how it feels to witness the lives of hundreds of thousands of people! Each grave that you see here can provide material to fill a book, or in some instances, volumes. I witnessed their happy and sad moments; the best and worst aspects of their life; the lives of people around them that they touched or influenced; and their greatest accomplishments and tragedies!
I visited place after place…and the air whispered and whispered in my ears…Finally, it dawned on me that whatever we think, do, or not do, the air will always bear witness and will recite our story to future generations!
July 18, 2009