Anne's birthday; we all woke up very early, and did the long long walk from the hotel past the White House, along the reflecting pond and past the WW2 and Vietnam Memorials, and then the Lincoln Memorial and finally down to the FDR Memorial.
We both found that really moving – F was less impressed, being very tired from the long walk. Totally different in concept to the other big Washington monuments, flowing water and a dynamic sense of history, and the kind of statement that one doesn't expect to hear from today's generation of politicians – apart from the famous lines like "The only thing we have to fear is fear itself" and "Freedom of speech. Freedom of worship. Freedom from want. Freedom from fear", I was struck by
No Country, however rich, can afford the waste of its human resources. Demoralization caused by vast unemployment is our greatest extravagance. Morally, it is the greatest menace to our social order.
Men and nature must work hand in hand. The throwing out of balance of the resources of nature throws out of balance also the lives of men.
We must scrupulously guard the civil rights and civil liberties of all our citizens, whatever their background. We must remember that any oppression, any injustice, any hatred, is a wedge designed to attack our civilization.
I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded.I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed. I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war.
All stirring stuff; though of course I'm aware that he didn't always live up to these noble sentiments I'm glad to see them highlighted.
The afternoon passed at the hotel in a jet-lagged haze, but in the evening we went out to Friendship Heights for dinner with my former colleague B, her husband J and their son Ben; joined also by another former colleague G and her partner P. B is from Turkey; J, G and P are all Americans and all lawyers. (This country has 8% of the world's population and 50% of the world's lawyers.) But we had fun.
F and Ben