Daunting, chilling, inspiring, captivating, nauseating, ghostly, maddening, enraging. All words that came to mind as I stood in front of the Vietnam Wall in Washington DC! As I look at my reflection in this photo I am taken back by the mirror like shine off the granite.
Laced with dead men’s names-My God what a tribute to the veterans that were doing their job!
I’m not going to get into the political views of this war, or war in general for that matter. I just wanted to share this because of the impact on me emotionally as I stood there. Emotions resonated all over my body as I stood there. My back was tense, stomach upset; hair on my neck was standing up, all while I was feeling Fear, Anger, Shame, Grief, and Joy.
The Fear, was about “our learning’s” from this battle, and the sense that we didn’t learn a damn thing. Anger was about the senselessness of killing another human being. The Shame was for my discerned apathy towards the families that lost loved ones on both sides of the ocean. My Grief was for all those men I have worked with over the years as I tried to lighten their pain associated with their experience in Vietnam. And my Joy was the deep gratitude I had for being alive, free, having a healthy family, not one family member’s name present, and for the thought of being able to tell the story of these lives that have been written on this wall.
See this, made my love of living even more clear. Contrasting death with life always does that for me. Death is the great equalizer. My perspectives become very clear when death is present. If you haven’t experienced this tour in Washington DC please put it on your bucket list and make it happen.
In addition to the Wall, Washington’s Monument, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, WW II, Martin Luther King Jr, the Korean War, and FDR will captivate you. For me Lincoln was mesmerizing. He built one of the greatest teams ever by putting everyone that ran against him on his cabinet, creating a TEAM of Rivals. A must read by Doris Goodwin.
But the site I will never forget is that of George Mason. Other than George Mason University’s basketball team I haven’t heard of it. And yet they built a monument and tribute to him. He sits alone, on a less traveled path, not as well kept, weeds in the garden, trash present alone without fanfare and fame.
Why is he there?
He was the “man” back in the founding fathers time. He was our first president, George Washington’s mentor. He was described by Thomas Jefferson as the “Wisest Man” in our time. And yet he goes uncelebrated. George was present when the founding fathers wrote all of those original documents”¦but Mr. Mason wouldn’t sign them unless slavery was abolished (Even though he was a slave owner). Maybe that’s why his name isn’t in lights? I don’t know.
What I came away with is that “Leadership” takes many shapes and comes in many different sizes. It helped remind me that my mentor or the wisest person ever, might be standing right next to me. And just because they don’t have the lead billing, or names in lights, doesn’t mean squat.
Brilliance is all around us! In Business Management Coaching as leaders we have to look for brilliance everywhere!