January 21, 2009

An image of a day

Yesterday was a day rich in images destined to be replayed for a long time to come. But for me, the most memorable image came unexpectedly, after the official events had been televised.

At the West Virginia Veterans Memorial outside the state capitol on a cold and windy afternoon, I saw a solitary African-American man carrying an American flag and walking calmly, silently, slowly and mindfully around the monument. It was at once a very public and very private act, full of dignity and gravity.

I could imagine any number of thoughts and feelings that motivated this walking vigil, any number of interpretations, such as memories of past sacrifices, a feeling of inclusion and pride, a veteran's solidarity with the fallen, or many other possibilities. But to have interrupted this solitary procession would have been a profanation.

I asked no questions. It was enough to stop, look and remember.

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1 comment:

Sometimes Saintly Nick said...

My mind's picture of the solitary African-American man carrying an American flag and walking calmly, silently, slowly and mindfully around the monument is both joyful and sad, like the faces I saw on TV during the inauguration yesterday of folks smiling while tears ran down their cheeks.

Thank you for the image.