7/26/2013

Vandalism at the Lincoln Memorial; reflections from a past speaker

If the sequester doesn't close a public monument, then vandals will. The Lincoln Memorial in D.C. is closed pending vandalism clean-up. It saddens me that someone has taken out their frustrations on a iconic American symbol. I suppose that nothing is immune anymore.

When I spoke from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial a few years ago, I talked about it being the conscience of the nation.  No country is all good or all bad. No group of people is all bad or all good. This is the one monument where we can look to and remember all that is right and wrong with our country. It's a place where we can both reflect and be inspired.

Anyone will tell you that our country is a divided mess of political standoffs. We suffer from classism, racism, sexism, generational and cultural divides and general angst. Kids don't understand parents. Family members don't understand each other. People walk past the homeless with a blind eye. Corporations generate record profits as those on the lower end of the economic structure collapse.

We look at the big issues and feel overwhelmed. What we don't see are the small things that we can do for one another that can help put the U.S. back on track.
The Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. is closed until the mess can be cleaned. The pause gives us an opportunity to look inward and ask ourselves the hard questions. What it is that we can do to improve ourselves? Our community? Or our country?

Sometimes it's not about big problems that we can't solve immediately. Sometimes the answer is as simple as getting a bucket, a scrub brush and cleaning the paint from a national monument. In so doing, we aren't merely healing a historic icon, but a part of ourselves is cleaned as well.

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