Around the corner from where I live is a roundabout, a traffic circle as it is called here, wide enough for benches and trees and grassed areas. It is more like a little park. People walk their dogs there, have picnics, play with their children. Sparrows shiver in their dust baths, pigeons bob awkwardly at the feet of the benches. It is where local homeless men sit and doze, smoke and talk, and pee into the bins. Life goes on there, every day.
In the centre of the roundabout is a bronze statue of a man in uniform seated on a horse. The statue is of General John Logan, the man who gave his name to my neighbourhood of D.C. and who, when national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic in 1868, proclaimed an annual Memorial Day to commemorate the fallen Union soldiers of the Civil War. In later years, Memorial Day was extended to honor all Americans who have died serving in the United States Armed Forces.
I walk across the roundabout every day on my way to and from work, and had never realised the significance of the man on the horse.
Today is Memorial Day. A few days ago, Vice President Joe Biden gave a speech to families of those who lost their lives in the service of their country.
Biden recounted the crushing grief he experienced when his wife and daughter died in a car accident. No matter your politics, you cannot help but be moved by his deeply emotional and ultimately hopeful words.
Take time to watch it if you can.