I was determined to see the sights while in DC, and I succeeded in seeing many of them. The memorials, monument, and architecture...it's a powerful city that has been romanticized to a certain degree I think. Some people visit the memorials and historical sites without putting a lot of thought into what sacrifices were made in the past. I'll admit, I started my journey out that way. Very quickly I found myself surrounded by things and people that had me reflecting on my life, my self, and my goals.

The Capitol Building, the Washington Monument,and the memorials were all beautiful. Even the run down and seemingly forgotten World War I memorial that sat off in a bunch of trees that was reached by a broken and falling apart. The Vietnam memorial...as I watched families search the books and walls for the names of loved ones, or I witnessed them finding the names on the wall, or as I walked past a memento of someone lost (flowers, wreaths, pictures) I was struck with a sense of pride.

It's the Korean memorial that lingers in my heart more than any of the others. I thought for awhile that it was because my grandfather fought in the Korean War, and maybe that was part of it. It goes deeper than that for me, though. I went to this memorial twice. The second time after hearing Candace Havens speak about perseverance (see part of her talk here). She was talking about writing, and she talked about her two closest friends, but when I went back to the Korean memorial a few days later...

As the wall says, Freedom is Not Free. It struck me, that while the men and women in war are fighting primarily for our freedom to live, they are also fighting for us to have emotional freedom, for us to live at peace with ourselves as much as with each other. Looking at the statues of the men, looking into their eyes, it didn't feel as if I was looking into stone. I could feel their pain. I could imagine how their minds would stray back to the families they had left had home. How thoughts of their wives, children, siblings, parents, and grandparents would drive them on when they wanted nothing more than to go home. More, I could see and feel their spirit. The part of each one of them that lived deep inside them that gave them the strength to face the hardships, the solitude that likely came with being away from home.

It occurs to me now as I think back on my visit to this memorial and the others and I think about Candy's speech, we all face feelings, thoughts, and fears similar to those that these soldiers dealt with. Granted, their fears are on a bigger scale than most of ours, but we all have dark places in our minds and hearts. We have fears, doubts, and questions that nag at us. We all wonder if we're making the right decisions. If we're taking the right actions. If there is a better solution to a problem than the one we're contemplating or acting out.

I didn't attend as many workshops this year as I wanted, and I will be listening to the cds when they come in, but I walked away from this conference with a better understanding of myself and what I want in this career. I don't have the answers yet on how to make sure my new goals come to fruition, as I'm still sorting through all the thoughts in my head, but I'm closer than I was before heading to DC.

If you're interested in more pictures from my DC trip, including some of the sites, more from the memorials, as well as pictures from the conference, check out my personal blog from yesterday at www.nikkiduncan.com/blog.

Comments (3)

On July 21, 2009 at 12:56 PM , Heather Long said...

It sounds wonderful. The Nationals and the National Capitol!

On July 22, 2009 at 11:32 AM , Joy of Joyfully Reviewed said...

Dagnammit you made me cry

On July 23, 2009 at 6:51 PM , Nikki Duncan said...

Sorry about that Joy.