Washington DC is chock full of inspiring things. Memorials, monuments, museums, and functioning governmental buildings of tremendous importance pop up on every corner. On this short trip, I went to just a couple of these sites (the new MLK statue, the FDR memorial, a couple museums), including the quite expensive and highly regarded Newseum, a museum devoted to the media. I recommend it, though I’d say budget at least 4 hours to see most of the exhibits as they are very well done, and otherwise the $20 ticket price seems too steep.
One of the exhibits, devoted to freedom of the press around the world, contained the most inspiring thing I saw in DC. I think we all get moved by somewhat different things. There are obviously commonalities – it’s hard not to find the Capitol building or the White House a bit impressive. But then there are the smaller bits of social life, the relics of fleeting moments. In the wake of the massive earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan in March, 2011, newspapers lost power and the ability to publish. Newspaper staffers got together and produced daily hand-written bulletins to post in public places to update people on what happened. Here’s an edition published on March 12, just a day after the earthquake.
Perhaps it’s because I grew up in a newspaper household, and I can remember my mother working late nights whenever a major story broke, but this record of a small act of human perseverance moved me as much as anything else I saw in DC.