We hear a lot about Washington DC these days, but whatever your politics are, this city is more than that. The buildings are a reminder of the ideals we hold true as a nation. Walking by them is not something I can ever do lightly, no matter how many times I see them.
Decisions that affect our lives are made voted on under that white dome, the home of the House and Senate chambers. Last time I was here, it was mostly hidden under scaffolding; this time it gleamed in the bright sunshine and I felt more optimistic just seeing it shine.
Laws can be changed via our court system, and the final arbitrar of that is the Supreme Court. How many rulings from inside this building have changed our country, from Brown vs. Board of Education to Obergefell v. Hodges.
Laws and rulings depend on knowledge and history, and the Library of Congress houses books, newspapers, historical records, and research materials that can be used by Congress.
It’s sometimes hard for me to remember that administrations come and go, it’s the institutions of our government that last. These beautiful buildings remind me of that.
Washington DC is also home to moments in our history that we need to never forget as time passes.
I spent some time walking through the Japanese American Memorial to Patriotism During World War II, not far from the other buildings pictured above. Many of my childhood friends were Japanese-Americans, and it was not until I was in college that I even knew of the things our country had done to their parents and grandparents.
Our laws and executive orders are not always fair and just, and it can take time to undo the damage, make reparations, and change course. But I believe we can do it, and we must do it, every time we see it. It’s our duty as citizens of the republic.
We believed a threat to this nation’s democracy was a threat to the American dream and to all free peoples of the world.
Spark M. Matsunaga
Captain, 100th Infantry Battalion