The wife and I made a stealth excursion into northern Virginia this past weekend. Purposely, we did not make into the District. Someday we will go back and take the walk through Arlington National Cemetery, across Memorial Bridge, tip our hats to Mister Lincoln, walk along the reflecting pool, past the World War II Monument, up over the knoll by the Washington Monument and stroll on down the mall to the Capitol. We used to make an entire day out of that walk, sometimes stopping off at one of the museums. Despite the political nitwits one might find inside, the stroll up to that grand building is impressive as are all of the monuments and memorials that dot the route. I also jogged through there almost every morning five days a week during the years that I lived on Fort Myer adjacent to Arlington Cemetery. I never grew tired of admiring the capital of the world’s freest country or paying homage to the heroes who rest in Arlington who were and are her guardians. Take your children there and introduce them to their country and her history. You may leave out the part about political nitwits. They will learn about them in due time.
I visited Amsterdam once. The capital of the Netherlands or Holland as it’s more commonly known here. It was in the late 1980’s. Their National Monument, located in Dam Square, is meant to memorialize Dutch citizens who died in WWII. It was not very well kept when I was there. It was littered and there was a stench, a urine stench. Maybe it is cleaned up now. I don’t know because I have never been back and have no plans for another visit. Not far from the square is the Red Light District, complete with prostitutes advertising their wares in large red light lit windows, clubs advertising live sex acts on stage and hashish bars. The Red Light District is the popular Amsterdam tourist attraction. Not the National Monument. I also visited Anne Franke’s house. It was clean outside and there was no crowd waiting to get inside. We took a boat ride through the canals and saw the old and very narrow houses. They were built so narrow because the occupants were once taxed on the width of their dwellings. Please do not share that idea with Washington. Driving through the city and on our way to the countryside, we were hard pressed to see a building that did not have some spray painted graffiti on it. You do not need to take your children there, but maybe you can use it to educate them about a likely product of out of control liberalism.
It was a bright and sunny Sunday afternoon when we headed back toward the hills. I have driven much of this country, which is just one benefit of Army life including turning right at Dallas and driving 700 miles to El Paso. I was up to 23 states the last time I surveyed the map. I have seen some incredible landscapes in my travels, from rugged West Texas and New Mexico to Tennessee’s Smokey Mountains and Kentucky’s bluegrass. For me, few of those sites stack up to the drive through the Shenandoah Valley in Virginia and into the West Virginia hills. It is one of those wow sights every time I make the drive. This is where our nation began and where many battles were fought to free her and to keep her united.
I have also been fortunate in my life to travel in Asia, South Korea particularly. There is some beautiful countryside in the Land of the Morning Calm, but most of her citizens want to live in the middle of jam-packed cities. I have also traveled in Germany, Austria, Belgium, the Netherlands and Switzerland. The Bavarian countryside is beautiful. Holland’s tulip fields are a memorable site. The Swiss Alps majestic and breathtaking. As grand as these places were to visit and view, none of them warmed the heart like the green of the Shenandoah Valley and the West Virginia hills.
Home truly is where the heart is and maybe that is why my travels this past weekend seemed a little bit more special. We truly are blessed to live in the land of the free.
I know that we have our wretched places that might rival the scenes I recalled from Amsterdam and as any nation we have our historical warts. But the beauty of our land stands second to none. There is something else much more important that sets us apart from the other countries of the world that I have been fortunate to visit. America radiates Freedom. It is the bright light to the world where generations of Americans have put their lives on the line to preserve the God given freedom, which is our foundation. It is that bright light that attracts the people who risk their lives just to come here and breathe that free air.
Take heed that there is no political class able to transform this land into something other than what it is meant to be. The Land of the Free. The people simply will not allow it. God has blessed America.