I’ll get to the law in a minute or two……or three……but first, some perspective. Living on the left coast, and if one is inclined to seek a bit of a tropical feel, Hawaii will beckon. And if you are fortunate enough to visit Hawaii……you’ll discover the ultimate paradise. You can drink the water, your currency is easily figured out, and you are basically as safe as if you were visiting Kansas………
My wife and I have been very fortunate to visit almost all of the major Hawaiian Islands…..I say almost, but eventually, it’ll be all. We need to visit two more, and we’ll have the big 5 in our pocket. But I digress, because here is my point, each island has it’s distinct flavor, feel, vibe for lack of better word. But I grant you this if you haven’t visited there yet, ALL OF IT, is breath taking. Spectacular. Stunning. Amazing. You can do the grunge thing, surf, snorkel, be sort of like me……a beach bum with no direction…….or you can go high end, resort it, ride around in helicopters……fancy cars if you want, but if you want warm water, crystal clear ocean, soft sand, jungle, high desert, volcanoes, the company of good people, and you look good in flipflops, grab a plane and head west.
Now back to this law thing…….the ongoing “joke” with me, is I think it should be a federal law that everyone in the US, gets a chance to visit Hawaii. I mean, it’s one of the 50 states, it’s all what I’ve said, and I just know everyone would like it………which gets to my interesting observation……I’m stunned at the number of people on the left coast I know that have never been there. Please go…..it’ll change you forever, not in a goofy “I saw an image of somebody in the sand kind of way”, but just in a good down home tropical kind of way…….which gets me to our trip to Jamaica many years ago…..
Again, what a beautiful landscape, the people, all of Jamaica, was great. But not Hawaii great. There is simply a lot of blight there, and I suspect, this is more common than not, in the Carribean. The beaches, just as nice. The water, almost as nice, and just as warm. But the areas we were in, the roads, infrastructure, this is not Hawaii at all. Hawaii like, kind of, but no contest here. What I found interesting though……the number of folks I talked to were almost all from the east coast or middle states…….this is their Hawaii (the Carribean), I get it……4 hour flight to Jamaica, or 10 hour flight to Hawaii……….
Fast forward to almost now, last week now……Washington DC. This left coaster, family in tow, finds Washington DC open for business……oldest son happens to be in the Navy, Norfolk Va………..so he pops on up, and shows Mom, Dad (me), and little Bro the shiz-bang of Arlington VA and Washington DC…….and I’m like stunned, because this is our first trip to the east coast, folks are relatively low key, Oregon like in a lot of ways…….engaging, not big city frantic like I thought we’d find…..and Virginia, don’t get me started, this state has way more trees than Oregon………it’s beautiful. And I was expecting really bad traffic, but it never happened……….
Lets talk Washington DC in particular…….I’m at a loss to describe this city…….if you haven’t been there, I simply can’t describe it……..or I will try………we did the typical tourist thing, and climbed all around the National Mall and White House…….Hollywood has done these areas to death……..but till you see em in person, it’s pointless. The White House, sort of underwhelming to be honest. As houses go, it’s big but I dare say this, underwhelming. As protestors go, stupid…….because they all stand around the front of it, which is like 500 yards away behind a fence, or they can go to the back of it, which is like 100 yards away and almost empty………The Washington Monument, is ridiculously tall and just immense in scale. It’s beautiful in a simplistic way and when we flew in, a great opening monument for sure. The Capitol Bldg, under construction, so we skipped it, I’ll be back to check it out……..the reflecting pool, totally cool as we got lucky on an October day at 70 plus degrees……but at the west end is where the action is……you get Lincoln’s Memorial, and the Vietnam and Korean War Memorials too.
I’d dare suggest that everyone knows what the Vietnam Memorial Wall looks like, the names…….I walked past every wall panel, and read at least one name from each. Humbling, thank goodness I had sunglasses on, it shook me to my inner essence. It’s a heck of a tribute, and one I hope we never have to build again.
We then go over to the Korean War Memorial, and it’s spooky yet beautiful……..the soldier statutes, ghost like and real life like at the same time…….the water, the etched wall, arguably the most beautiful of all monuments we saw, hands down in my humble opinion. I find myself pondering my opportunities in today’s times, and wondering why such conflicts have to exist so we can build such beautiful monuments. I feel 2 feet tall knowing the prices these men and women too, their families, paid……so i can come and look.
The Lincoln Memorial…….the scale is just astounding. Abe is so much bigger in life than TV/movies depict. The columns are huge, the antiroom is huge, and Oregon is etched darn near dead center at the top of the building facade…..and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, Google it………inside the building, on each wall left and right, are Lincoln speeches……..to the left, the classic “Four score and 7 years ago……”, but to the right, a speech about the conflict of the nature of the Civil War……..and Lincoln’s interpretation of why the conflict started and it’s basis…..I read it, twice. Took me about 15 minutes…..it’s a bit of old school english, and it’s just complicated……essentially he talks about the how conflict isn’t about slavery per se, but it’s about how one side values oppression for gain versus the other sides value of unity, while each side proclaims the proclamation to the same God. A heavy thought/concept and one that cost the man his life………..
Our oldest son, Navy enlised, had rented two bicycles, his lovely girlfriend, an incrediby sweet young lady, had had enough of the day riding the bike (you can rent a bike all over DC area with a swipe of a credit card), so he and I get to take the bikes back and get the car……and so we go…….past the Federal Reserve Bldg, past the Dept of Commerce Bldg (the size of this building is ridiculously large), and then past Dwight D Eisenhower Bldg…….which is frankly, cooler than the White House and appears to be a darn site bigger too…….and we go past a zillion people too…….all tourist, some American, but a ton foreign, because on this day we visit, as I reflect, there are so many foreign tongues spoken, I’m in awe………the world comes to us, to see our history, our values, our monuments, what we stand for…..and I can only hope our leaders see this, know this……and respect this. I can only hope all of them are on point that a particular day may come.
So lets get back to Hawaii which is where this all started. Kind of. The new US law, Chris’ Law if you will…….in that, everyone in the US has to visit Hawaii. After all, it’s visiting ourselves, right!? But I’m going to add one more step……Washington DC………it’s our history, our essence, who we are……..and in about 10 hours worth of plane rides, you get both………so I challenge all across our country and planet earth too……..do them both, and then tell me I’m not dead nut on……..