During the past two months it is been my pleasure to show relatives and friends from far and near around our great city. Each time I do this I feel anew the marvelous opportunity which is mine to have retired in our nations capital.
Perhaps the most remarkable of these visits was a mother and daughter, distant cousin of mine, from Germany. It was the first visit to the United States for both of them, although they have traveled throughout Europe and on two occasions to Israel. It was fascinating to me that high on their list of MUST SEE were Arlington Cemetery, the war memorials and the United States Holocaust Museum.
I found there reactions extremely fascinating. I felt that I was indeed reliving Alex de Tocqueville's, Democracy in America, however, not as an aristocrat might report, but as an average German citizen sees things. Their observations included:
- That so many Americans were willing to sacrifice their lives to secure freedom for others in far off places ranging from Europe to the Middle East and Asia.
- That during a visit to Arlington when the cemetery was crowded with eighth grade tour groups, the children were so well behaved giving their attention and respect to the learning experience.
- They were particularly impressed by the volunteerism present at so many of the venues we explored. It seems a concept not present in their society
They were also highly impressed by the honesty and clarity with which the Holocaust Museum, particularly, The Story of Daniel, depicted the horrors of the Nazi era and that we have a government that makes such museums free to all.