Friday, June 3, 2011

T.J. and me

Tom Jefferson, the guy who built Monticello and UVA, and I share a birthday -- April 13 -- give or take a couple hundred years. I've always admired his free spirit and savoir-faire. Nevertheless, dancing around his memorial statue just seems wrong. So to the group that plans a second dance tomorrow evening: CUT IT OUT!! Now Tom might be the first to say "let's dance" but I very much doubt he would be comfortable doing a jig inside Lincoln's Memorial or any other dedicated to a former national leader. Can anyone even imagine dancing around the soon to be opened Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial? These memorials are not what I'd call sacred, but they hold special meaning for many of us. Every time I drive by the mammoth statue of Dr. King, I feel a chill. I cannot forget where I was and what I was doing when I heard he had been assassinated. It was the same lost, breathless feeling we all had when JFK was killed. Granted, T.J. lived a good long life and died in bed. Still, we owe it to the millions of visitors, Americans and foreigners alike, to show respect for our heroes. It would be totally crass to dance at the Vietnam Wall or the WWII Memorial or any other reminders of American sacrifices. Thomas Jefferson devoted his life to seeing that a brand new nation survived it's birth and would flourish. [Yeah, we all know about his personal life -- so what's new?!] He earned our respect. Those who plan to again "dance on his grave" have not. You're free to dance on the stairs or the terrace, but leave the inner sanctum in peace, OK?!

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