Our visit to Washington, D.C., last week was an interesting mix of past and present.
As we wandered around the Lincoln memorial, staring up at the larger-than-life figure, reading the well-known words of the Gettysburg address, I noticed a young woman pushing an old man in his wheelchair to the base of the famous statue.
WW II Veteran, his baseball cap proudly proclaimed. The woman – his granddaughter, perhaps? – helped him stand, gently wrapped her arm around his waist, and asked a bystander to snap their picture. She showed him the photo on the camera screen, they both smiled approvingly, and she assisted him back into his wheelchair.
As they made their way across the crowded floor to leave, a young man, backpack strapped on over his brightly-colored sweatshirt, strode purposefully toward them. I saw him hold out his hand, offer a greeting, and ask the older gentleman his name.
I couldn’t hear more of the conversation, but they stayed in that position for quite a while. My heart warmed as I thought how this aged veteran must have appreciated the opportunity to share his story, to be recognized, even briefly, by a stranger from a younger generation.
I don’t know their names – not one of the three of these courageous souls. But in a city filled with historic heroes, I knew I was standing in the presence of greatness.