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Eudemon Goes To Washington

“Clickity clack, clickity clack, the wheels a sailing on the railroad track.” So goes the Kingston Trio song from Eudemon’s childhood. He wanted to go to Washington when he was 12 years old to visit the Lincoln Memorial and the Smithsonian and see the Capitol and the White House. It wasn’t to be, but here he is, 40 some years later, sitting on the train, moving through the Allegheny Mountains, on his way to D.C. “Well if you go ya can’t come back, if you go ya can’t come back.” Unlike the song, he was coming back in a few days. The train rolled into the great Washington station and Eudemon got off and started to walk the streets of the nation’s capital. The city was ready to enjoy a warm spring day after suffering an extraordinary winter siege of snow and cold. Brown grass and snow fence with little patches of white ran up to an empty reflecting pool. There was no sign of Cherry blossoms. But the Washington Monument shined in the distance. Yup, this was it, and Eudemon was going to join the crowds out on this warm day and see the sights. He walked up to the Washington Monument and touched the stone. He gazed down toward the Lincoln Memorial and back toward the Capitol and then back toward Lincoln. Lincoln was his hero. Time to go visit. Time also to visit the Vietnam Memorial nearby. Eudemon stopped and looked at the book of names of the over 58,000 young men who had died in the Vietnam War. He found the name of a man who would have been his age if he had lived. He walked by the polished dark stone with all the names. Slowly the wall rose until he was looking at his own reflection on top of the endless list of names. He came up the other side with the burden of all those lost dreams of all those young men. He slowly walked over to the Lincoln Memorial and up the stairs. Into the gloom behind the columns, there he was, Abraham, the giant in life, the giant in stone, sitting in his chair, just as he was supposed to be. On his right was his Gettysburg address carved in stone, on his left was his second inaugural speech also in stone. Eudemon finished reading, “to do all which may achieve and cherish a just and lasting peace, among ourselves, and with all nations” when he heard the faint strains of the Star Spangled Banner echoing off the walls. He quickly went outside, and on the stairs, a choir of young adults was singing in a most agreeable harmony. They finished and then sang a beautiful Ukrainian song. They were visitors from the Ukraine performing an impromptu concert. Eudemon finished his day by walking back to a subway station. On the way he ran into some “Pink Ladies,” as they called themselves. It was International Women’s Day and these ladies had come from Washington and across the country to declare a “Code Pink,” for peace. Several hundred citizens, mostly women dressed in pink, were protesting the war with Iraq. It was the end of a day of protest where they tried to surround the White House with a ring of “Pink Ladies.” It was such a beautiful warm spring day that the pink protesters took on a festive air that belied the truly serious nature of the life and death decisions that soon would be made. They had drummers filling the air with beat. They were drums for peace. Eudemon got on the subway that passed by the Pentagon. The scars of the terrorist attack are gone from the building. Everything is in order for the drums of war to begin. Clickity Clack, Clickity Clack, some boys and girls won’t come back. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 4 – April 2003