Monday, November 19, 2007

National Center for Higher Ed

Much of my time in D.C. was spent at 1 Dupont Circle where the National Center for Higher Education is located. Many different offices are housed there, including the AACC (American Association of Community Colleges) and the AACC-affiliated Instructional Technology Council (ITC).

I also had three hours Saturday morning for a self-guided walking tour of the National Mall and surrounding area including George Washington University and many of the memorials. Although I've seen pictures of all of these places several times, nothing quite matches being there. Since my father served during World War II, I was especially intrigued by the WWII Memorial. The full inscription on the flagpole shown on the left is "AMERICANS CAME TO LIBERATE, NOT TO CONQUER, TO RESTORE FREEDOM AND TO END TYRANNY." My, how things have changed. Do a Google search for "Americans came to liberate" and you will see many posts about the Iraqi conflict, most of which are not very flattering to our home country.

I was able to see part of the march on Washington to end racial profiling on Friday afternoon and also joined a huge number of people walking on Saturday morning to raise awareness and money for the homeless, especially the homeless children. Watching tens of thousands people walk by the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument is a rather stirring site.

Having traveled to both Korea and Vietnam, those two memorials took on special significance for me. I know (and knew) many Americans who served in both conflicts and I have also now met many people in each of those other countries. To continue jabbering at this point would run the risk of turning this into a political blog - something that I have no interest in doing.

So, suffice it to say the following. If you ever need a good dose of U.S. patriotism, spend a couple of days around the National Mall in Washington D.C. Things most definitely are not perfect, but our past, our present, and our future are all on display.

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