Yes. Well. I suppose you are looking at the new and spiffy site and thinking, boy, those were some subtle changes. Well, as tends to happen with these things, there was a little glitch in the proceedings so now we are looking at a weekend changeover. No one said progress was easy, right? This is what we call “building suspense.” That’s OK. I have a great post for Monday anyway.
So in the meantime, join me on part II of the BlogPaws recap, why don’t you?
There are always many fun adventures to be had at conferences. Since Tysons Corner, the location of BlogPaws, was only about half an hour from Washington, DC, a large group of us non-East Coaster types were dying to get into town. I’ve been to DC twice in my life; once, the obligatory junior high school pilgrimage, and again in high school as part of a congressional outreach program. You had to win an essay contest to be selected. (See kids? Writing does pay.)
But, that was a million years ago and things have changed quite a bit, so I was delighted beyond words when I received an invitation from my friends (no, really! They are my friends!) at Tagg the Pet Tracker for a moonlight DC monument tour. When you’re in junior high, they lock you in around 7 so I never got to experience DC After Dark.
The first thing that hit me as we crossed the Potomac is how dramatically lit the nation’s capitol is. It’s by design, of course, meant to inspire awe and a sense of otherworldliness as you drink it in. It works.
There was much talk in town about the earthquake damage sustained by the Washington Memorial the prior day. I looked it from a distance, wondering if the winds would finish the job over the weekend. I wasn’t the only one.
With the Washington Monument closed, we headed to the World War II Memorial.
The center pool is ringed by columns representing the states and territories as they were during that time period.
We each ran off to find our own state’s column. As you can see, the flat pets in attendance were also happily posing for photos.
Mr. Lincoln, imposing even from a distance.
There is a plaque on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial commemorating where Martin Luther King, Jr stood to give his “I have a dream” speech. In the evening it is difficult to envision what that expanse of mall must have looked like, filled with people all the way to the Washington Monument in the distance, but you could still sense the awe and import.
The Jefferson Memorial, where I paused to recreate a picture from my junior high trip. I noted how refreshing the breeze was, which is probably not the best thing to say when there is a hurricane bearing down on you. Famous last words.
This is a shot out at the storm basin from where I was sitting in the previous picture. We were told if there is a strong storm surge, the basin could fill up and submerge the steps on which we were standing. That was a creepy, apprehensive feeling. You can see where the water line currently ended by looking at the reflection of the Washington monument.
The Korean war memorial was very evocative. On the right, a reflective granite wall with apparition-like faces peering out at you. If you look at the top center, you can see a German shepherd who was a heroic land mine detection dog. He was killed in the line of duty.
On the left, 19 men apprehensively stride out of a wooded clearing into a possible ambush. Fear and hesitation are etched onto their faces. It was an unsettling, and therefore very effective, memorial.
The Vietnam memorial, of course. It is so powerful to stand next to that wall and see the names of the 58,000 people killed stretching on and on further than you think you can bear.
Then an unexpected surprise. The Martin Luther King, Jr memorial had been scheduled for a dedication the following day, but this was cancelled due to the hurricane. So the park services opened the memorial early.
You approach it through a rock.
The center of the rock is pushed forward.
And on the far side, Dr. King stands proudly.
And as you turn around, you see that expanding to either side like a pair of outstreched arms is a wall engraved with some of Dr. King’s most famous quotes.
Many people travelled from around the country to be at the dedication, and with that cancelled they were in the midst of an impromptu celebration anyway. Seeing the memorial was memorable in and of itself, but to be there sharing in an enormous moment with a group of people for whom this had exceptional meaning was so very special.
BlogPaws is about pets, sure, but at its core it is about community. And to be plugged in to a greater consciousness, no matter what context that has for you, is at the core of our humanity.
There were lots of quotes I found meaningful- they are on the Flickr set- but this one was my favorite.
Thank you Tagg, for an incredible experience.