Today and the Echoes of Yesterday


In 1964 my father put the entire family on a plane and we all flew to Washington D.C. It was to be a two week ‘educational’ vacation. I was 13. It was more than educational. It was a trip that framed my outlook on life.

The experiences of the entire trip from Washington DC to Woodstock, New Brunswick, Canada changed that young girl. My parents took me to Saks Fifth Avenue in New York City and bought me a pure silk dress. I saw a Broadway play. We went to the New York World’s Fair where I saw Michelangelo’s Pietà.

 I ate lobster for the first time in Kennebunkport, Maine. I picked wild raspberries in Canada. I rode a horse at a horse ranch near my cousin’s home. I drank unpasteurized (and warm) cow’s milk. I watch the reversing falls in the St John River.

But the most incredible moments came in Washington D.C. My father had contacted our Congressman, Harlan Hagen. We went to his office in the Capitol. We were given tickets into the gallery of the United States Senate. I remember seeing Everet Dirksen and Hubert Humphrey and being told that they had just had a cloture vote on the Civil Rights Bill. Then the Congressman’s wife took us, in a Congressional car, on a tour of Washington.

She was driving and wasn’t sure of how to get into Arlington Cemetery. She drove up to a gate to ask for directions.

The spiffy looking Marine saluted as we approached, open the gate and we drove through. She kept driving until there were some Marines in the road. She stopped, They came to the doors of the car, opened them, snapped to attention (with clicking heels!) and we got out. We didn’t know where we were. Until we saw a small flame. We were on the family side of the grave of John F. Kennedy.

My father almost went to his knees.

There was a white picket fence that separated the general public from the grave and us. People were taking pictures of us!!

Because of that trip (and several wonderful teachers of Civics and Government) I am steeped in history of the American government.

After these last four years, I mourned for the country that I thought I knew. Today, I cried in joy, relief, excitement, and a host of other emotions.

When President Biden and Vice-President Harris entered Arlington Cemetery and stood at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I lost it. I had been standing just behind the spot where they stood. I have felt the power of that place.

Today was momentous. It brought back a flood of memories and a renewal of ideas and thoughts that had laid dormant for so long. There is hope in my heart and a little more energy in my step.

Here’s to Mr. Mike (senior year Government) who let me argue my case and Mr. Ippolito who let me write it. And, of course, to my father for teaching his kids what patriotism really means.

Hope is eternal. Just like JFK’s flame.

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7 comments

  1. Oh dear Gael… as a believer in the good qualities of our humanity, you had me in tears all the way through your glorious article, and the we had MLK week as week as well… my emotions are at top end of ecstatic…. “I am proud to have a small piece of this rock
    And be a little cog in this world’s clock” …((Hugs))

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful, Gale truly Beautiful……

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is a fantastic story. And yes, how long have we been holding our breath? What a relief!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. A beautiful post, Gael. You truly are steeped in your country’s proud history and tradition, and I hope that the next four years will repair the damage of the last four.

    Like

  5. An amazing experience, Gael. And what a wonderful day for you to share it. Hope is rekindled. And so many of us are breathing just a little more freely today.

    Like

  6. Thank you for sharing your beautiful memories Gael. I love your writing. I love you. I have so much hope but I’ve also got so much anguish because those friends I still have that support trump continue to believe all his lies. They believe he won and the election was stolen from him. They hate Kamala. I’ve more than once said why in the world cannot women be happy and excited and encouraging to other women. I say to them, remember when we were young and we never even considered that a women could be anything more than a Secretary, nurse, teacher. Isn’t it encouraging to to see women in leadership positions? Just give them a chance…the same chance that white men have been privilege to since the beginning of time. Stop saying Kamala is going to destroy American without any proof and give her a chance. There is absolutely no changing their minds. I tell them don’t necessarily believe what I tell you but find out for yourself and don’t just blindly believe what fox or Limbaugh tell you is true. They still don’t believe the election results. They believe ANTIFA and the left were behind the insurrection. Everything is “what about”. They are convinced ANTIFA is behind all the looting and burning and killing and taking over cities unabated. They don’t believe T had anything to do with the attack on the Capitol but won’t listen to his speech. These people are not stupid or ignorant but somehow have swallowed the kool aid and will not change their views regardless. And I forgot…who is paying all these people to come and riot? Naturally George Soros. No mention of Proud Boys or QAnon or anything. I’ll never be get it. I need to let it go. I can’t let it go. What a conundrum.

    I love you my friend. I miss you too. Julie Sent from my iPad

    >

    Liked by 1 person

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