Non-virtual world interference in the summer of 2012

August 30, 2012

Posting here takes hits every day from real world interference.  That interference will continue.

And it’s a pretty bad backlog.  I have stuff cued up, but needing editing, from stuff I saw in June.  Since June 1st I traveled by SUV from Texas to Wisconsin, and back, by air to Washington, D.C., and by car from Dallas to Colorado Springs and back.  I have not tallied how many states.

Winston Churchill's "Sinews of Peace"...

Winston Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech was delivered at Fulton, Missouri, in 1946. This famous photo of Churchill by Yousuf Karsh, earlier.

We saw and purchased parts of the Berlin Wall, in Appleton, Wisconsin, where a mockup of eight panels of the wall cut into a work of art by Winston Churchill’s granddaughter caught tourists’ eyes at the Trout Museum of Art, along with a display of Winston Churchill’s art — stuff he made, and stuff made about him.  With younger son James I drove to Fulton, Missouri, to see the actual chunks of the Berlin Wall at the Churchill Center in America.  A couple of weeks later I stood stunned by even more parts of the Berlin Wall, and one of the guard towers, at the Newseum in Washington, D.C.

[Nota bene:  “The Art of Winston Churchill” was extended through Septermber 7 at the Trout Museum of Art; if you’re near Appleton, Wisconsin, go.]

We lucked into a tour of the museum at Fulton, the National Churchill Museum on the Churchill Center, which is housed under the oldest European building standing in America.  That building is a church originally built in about 1100 A.D., rescued by Sir Christopher Wren after the Great London Fire, bombed out with Nazi incendiary devices in the Battle of Britain, and then disassembled in London and reassembled and gloriously restored in Fulton, at the Churchill Center, near the site of Churchill’s 1946 “Iron Curtain” speech at Westminster College, as part of the American tribute to the Great Winston.

Between Appleton and Fulton, we stopped  in Springfield, Illinois, to visit the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum.  It’s a stop I’ve made several times, including for seminars with the Bill of Rights Institute and Liberty Fund.  This time we drove to Lincoln’s tomb.  I had not realized that one could enter the tomb.  A bronze cast of Borglum’s  Lincoln bust stands in front of the tomb — Abe’s nose rubbed shiny by tens of thousands of touches.  Borglum’s bust remains one of my favorite sculptures.  The version in the U.S. Capitol, I discovered a few days later, has been moved from the grand view in the Rotunda, to the crypt below (replaced by a grinning, glad-handing Ronald Reagan!).  In the Capitol, no one is allowed to touch Abe’s nose.

In Washington I discovered that the statue of Eleanor Roosevelt at the FDR Memorial is much less guarded.  People there touch her hands.  FDR sits — in his wheelchair — a few yards away, with a much-larger-than-life statue of his fabled dog Fala.  It’s Fala’s ears that get the touches there.

A half mile away, the Korean War Memorial features nearly a score of bronze soldiers on patrol on a cold Korean morning.   Not in the original design, a small fence surrounds the patrol, enough of a barrier to keep people from walking up to the actual men portrayed and touching them — the Korean War Memorial was not designed for public interaction with statues that way.  Another hundred yards at the Vietnam War Memorial, and it’s difficult to find anyone who visits who does not touch the wall of names, 58,000 dead.

These memorials, if not touching themselves, certainly invite touching, and are touched.

In Colorado we camped with a Boy Scout troop from Aurora , Colorado — our camp included the night of the horrible shootings in Aurora.  That week saw an unusual, three-way swing of good deeds involving Scouts from Aurora, Albuquerque, New Mexico, and Hurst, Texas, which I believe has not yet been told.    On the way to Colorado we stopped at the Oklahoma City Memorial to the victims of the bombing there; on the return, we visited Cadillac Ranch with what seemed like a hundred Kiwis and Aussies exploring our grand Route 66 — have you made that drive? — and the Kwahadi Indian Dancers who bravely revived the Ghost Dance, somehow without earning the ire of the 7th Cavalry.

A lot of asphalt under the wheels, a lot of clouds under the wings — but not a job under my belt.  I’ll post what I can, but other issues take time, as you might understand.


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