The Week’s DC and NYC Adventures – Food for Thought

Last week Barry and I went to Washington, D.C. to tour the Holocaust Museum. The trip was planned for Thursday, which was Holocaust Remembrance Day, and our group – a Reading Public Museum tour – was privileged to be able to watch in the museum theater,live via satellite, the national Remebrance Ceremony that took in a chamber at the Capitol. It was most sobering and very impressive. To me the most impressive part was the singing of the Prayer for the Dead by a young cantor from Oregon who had one of the most beautiful and mournfully expressive voices I’ve ever heard. Following the ceremony, we toured the museum. Strangely, and probably unbelievably to most, I knew nothing about the Holocaust until a month before my graduation from Penn State. My date and I went to see The Longest Day, and in it was included actual footage of the liberation of the death camps. I was shocked beyond anything words could express. My date was Jewish. He knew! And he patiently explained what had happened in Europe while he and I were growing up safely in the United States. Since that time I have read probably 500 books about the Holocaust, WWII, the various European ghettos, the death camps, the way European countires helped and hid their Jews – or didn’t. So there was nothing new for me at the museum, but the exhibits are …beyond words I can find to describe.
After the museum tour, our bus driver gave us a tour of the monuments in D.C. We stopped and walked around the new Martin Luther King, Jr. monument, and that lifted my spirits. It’s a wonderful memorial, and reading some of MLK,Jr’s quotes that are carved into the walls around the huge statue of him, helped me to find some optimism in some of the positive things that have happened in my lifetime. We’ve made some great strides in our acceptance and celebration of our differences as people – and finding the stuff to celebrate our common humanity. But, as Frost says, we’ve “miles to go” before we sleep!
On Saturday, we went to NYC to see an all star cast perform Gore Vidal’s play The Best Man. It’s about a national political convention, set in 1960, before the time when primaries made politcal conventions almost unnecessary. It’s a great play – could have easilly been written about national (and local) politics today. A dirty business – politics!
It’s been a great week! Sorry for the “preachiness” of this blog!

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