Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Einstein's War

Sitting in the lap of a giant. Sorta like standing on their shoulders.
This morning was a bright spring morning. I went down to The National Mall and meandered along Constitution Ave. The birds chirped and sang. Of course, because I'm a scientist, I had parked my car right next to the Einstein Memorial. I'm a scientist, you see, and naturally gravitate towards science. This is commonplace for my ilk, as our gravitation pull is altered due to a change in molecular arrangement in our brains. Thus, giving us the ability to know when and where science is happening.

Einstein sits in what looks like a hot tub from certain angles. The ground is speckled with metal, showing the location of prominent celestial objects on April 22, 1979, the day the exhibit was opened. Crossing the street, I made my way to the war memorials. From where I was standing, Einstein now looked like a large tree stump (if you squint your eyes).

I began walking down the Vietnam War Memorial and I felt overwhelmed by the amount of names. As you walk, the wall starts at your feet and grows until it is over your head. At this point I stopped and gazed at the grass peaking over the top of the wall. Losing someone you love is devastating. I know first hand. I thought about the families who felt that loss and wondered if these soldiers died for a just cause. I am not interested in wars. I was in high school when 9/11 happened and I felt completely confused about why that happened and how we responded. I have very distinct memories driving in the country, after having just obtained my license, and listening to the radio explain blasts in Iraq. I started watching MSNBC but was hopelessly confused. The international section of our county's paper was tiny and didn't offer much insight. In subsequent years have remained perplexed.

Standing in front of this wall, I recognize that this is only a small fraction of people who have died and I have yet to understand why. I had to get out of there. My emotions waned from confusion and sadness to full-blown anger.

I went to the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens, which is a National Park and like most, is completely underfunded. I don't know who funds the memorials but I can say that they are pristine. The gardens, on the other hand, are a mess and clean up is dependent upon volunteers. What would Einstein think of this? More funding into parks and science while less into our military? It is torturous that he overlooks the memorials of wars he didn't support. If we're only putting money into our military, then we are only left to defend, well, our military.


  1. Yeah, I know. This post could have been better. I will rewrite for when I'm published like you.