Dear Little One,
Today is Veterans’ Day, and I told you a little bit about it, and about your Great-Grandpa Hitchcock, who is the origin of one of your many names. I didn’t go into the full history of Armistice Day and the significance of the 11th day of the 11th month, but we’ll get there as you get older. Two of your Great-Grandfathers fought in WWII in the Pacific, and both were good men who served with honor. Your Granddaddy also served in the Navy for two years active duty and many years of service in the Reserves. A lot of young men and women are now serving or returning from their service, and we thank them for their sacrifice and service as well.
War and politics are things that you don’t know much about right now, and for that I’m glad. You’ll learn more and more and ask a lot of questions, and I pray that we’re able to muster the right words when you ask us why and when and how often wars happen.
You went with us to the polls a week ago today, and you “helped” me cast my vote. We waited in line outside the Elementary School, and once we got inside, you needed to let off a bit of steam, so this is what you did:
Critter, I have to admit that I didn’t get much work done on Election Day. As I walked from the metro station to my office, the city seemed too quiet and empty. Everyone was just waiting. There was nothing else to do but wait. Thank goodness I had a presentation to go to that afternoon! That evening, there were election parties all over the country, but your Dad and I stayed home, wanting to be together when the election was called.
Of course, we have our beliefs and others have different ones, but the remarkable thing about our country and many others is that we get to vote. We each have a voice and an opinion, and our elections are how we come together to decide who is going to lead our country, our state, our city and how we are to govern ourselves. You’ll hear our opinions and you’ll hear the beliefs and opinions of friends, family and others, and you’ll get to decide what your opinions are and you’ll get to vote for yourself some day.
That night, we watched the news channels with laptops on our laps, jumping from site to site, calling out new things that we’d just read. And we actually heard it from John Stewart first, that the American voters had elected Senator Barack Obama as our 44th President. It was so exciting and emotional, and we were so happy with the potential for hope and change and possibility (even during a very scary and uncertain time) that his election represented. We were quietly at home, but we later learned that people were dancing in the streets and celebrating after the election was called. (Sorry, just had to take a minute to watch that video again!)
This weekend, you paid your first visit to the Lincoln Memorial – shame that we haven’t taken you to more monuments yet, but we’ll get there – and you were really interested in all the people that gathered there to see Our Nation’s Capital and the monument to one of our most remarkable Presidents.
Here, we’re standing in front of a sign that congratulates President-Elect Obama on his election and wishes him well in the enormous challenges that he’ll have as President:
Here’s the sign itself:
Lots of people signed their names, or sent their own messages to Mr. Obama and to other visitors. You enjoyed the sign, but you really enjoyed running around and taking it all in:
We took you up the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial and introduced you to Mr. Lincoln and his words from the Gettysburg Address and Second Inaugural Address. You thought that was cool and all, but you were getting sleepy:
It was a lovely outing and a great way to finish off the week. You’re sleeping now, and I can hear your snore every now and then over the monitor. You’re running around, and have a few words (up, dog, ball, uh oh, and daddy) and getting more expressive every day. I’ll always worry about the state of the world, and my responsibility as a parent for bringing you into it, but this week gave me a good dose of hope for the future. Can’t wait to live it with you.