Theme by nostrich.
Last month, I spent a few days in DC to look for apartments for the upcoming relocation. I stayed in a hotel in Arlington while the cherry blossoms were in full bloom, and had the opportunity to go for a few early morning runs. It turned out that I was staying smack dab in the middle of memorial central.
I saw the Iwo Jima memorial (one block from my apartment) at the end of my run on day one. It was about 7:15 AM, and I had just jogged approximately 5 miles on the hilly trail along the Potomac. I rounded a bend, just at the point of walking/cool down and I saw the memorial. I came to a dead stop.
I spent at least a month studying appropriations of the Iwo Jima memorial in a Visual Rhetoric of Politics class during my senior year at University, and seeing it in person was nothing I’d expected. That early on a foggy, cool Monday morning, I was the only person in the park; I could appreciate the memorial in solitary silence. After studying countless political cartoons and analyzing the visual rhetoric of satirical appropriation and historical references, I was surprised at how moved I was by the memorial itself. I felt (ironically) proud of where and who I was. I was empathetic to the success of planting that flag and aware of the tribulations endured for that small victory. I was struck dumb by the size of the statue itself (for in my head, it was a life-sized sculpture in the middle of an anonymously large park).
Sure, I can chalk some of my sentiment up to the fact that I was still on West Coast time, and technically, I was finishing up my run at 4:15 AM. I hadn’t eaten breakfast yet, and the creepy fog/mist made me feel nostalgic and alert all at the same time. But, I’m going to assume that most of my emotion was a direct result of actually seeing the memorial for the first time. It was an experience I will not forget.
***I went back to the memorial the last day of my trip to take these pictures. It was a fiasco trying to get a shot of the entire memorial without a single tourist mucking up the shot.