Running the Monuments

In the last ten years of my career in Big Industry, I was a civilian member of a Navy Working Group that required me to travel to Washington DC regularly to meet with Navy, University and Industry leaders.  The meetings were generally held at the Navy buildings in Crystal City, across the Potomac from the capitol.  There were professional benefits to this assignment … meeting colleagues from all over the country working on similar problems, working on cutting edge technologies and establishing a reputation with our customer.   It also gave me ample opportunity to explore our nations capitol on a regular basis.  During this time, I was running several marathons a year, and Running the Monuments became a regular feature of my days in DC.  After arriving at my hotel from the airport … or returning after all day meeting … I would change into my running clothes, jog along the trail near Reagan Airport, through Potomac Park to take the Arlington Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial.   Then I’d run the National Mall, past the Vietnam Memorial, the White House, the Washington Monument, the Capitol Building and the Smithsonian before retracing my steps back to Crystal City.   As a patriotic American, I loved seeing our Capitol up close, making it one of my favorite runs.

I bring this up because at 77 I am no longer up to running  … my physical regimen consists of 2 or 3 mile walks every day and a half an hour on the stationary bike our community rec center a couple times a week.  The bike gives me the option of showing a video of assorted courses in the US as I pedal and one of them is the National Mall.   It’s not quite like being there but I still love it, especially the run up to the Capitol Building, the center of our democracy for so many years.   But the sense of pride is not what it was in my running days and it’s not because I’m not there in person.   It’s because of what happened on January 6, 2021.

I can no longer look at the Capitol without seeing hundreds of goons breaching security as they wave confederate flags and banners showing their allegiance to a former president too narcissistic to admit that he’d lost the election.  I see a clown who called himself a Shaman, dressed in fur and horns, desecrating our capitol.   I hear the echo of threats to kill legislators and overturn the election and I see thugs damaging our country’s property and attacking police.   And worse, I can open the news today and see hundred of politicians who were once functioning members of the Republican Party denying that the attack was as we all saw it on television … a violent assault on our democracy.  And continuing to offer fealty to a pathetic human being who would bring down that democracy to salve his own ego.   What happened to these people?   How can they look at themselves in the mirror?  Whatever happened to the party of Lincoln?

I have to wonder … can DC ever again be the place it was?  Not if these people have their way.


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3 Comments on “Running the Monuments”

  1. barrythewiz Says:

    Well said. Living just outside DC, I am saddened whenever I am in the city by the knowledge of how pathetic the current actors look when viewed against the physical majesty of the place.

    • oldereyes Says:

      You know, its funny (not ha-ha funny). When I started to write this it was just going to be about running the monuments, sort of a nostalgia piece. But as I got into it, my anger at what’s going on in the country spilled out and it ended as it did, another lament about our current state of affairs in this country.

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