Thursday, July 23, 2015

Do we even read the signs or just pretend they don't apply to us?

Opinions are like toothbrushes: everybody should have at least one.

But most of us have our opinions on the big topics (politics, religion, football/baseball teams) and we enjoy friendly discourse and conversation about these notions with our well-informed friends.  It's how we learn, how we share.

I am for eating beef, reading, music, and having a lot of laughs, and I am against drunk drivers, people shooting or stabbing each other, and poor grammar, spelling, and diction.

That leaves everything else in the world as a decision to be made when the topic comes up, but I recently came across a topic on which I just can't be sure how I feel.

The water at the center of the World War II Memorial on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. regularly sees people hopping in for a cooldown on these days when the temperature approaches 100° and sidewalks and paved streets seem to be melting. The National Park Service doesn't even mind if you sit on the edge of the water and chill your dogs (by which I mean your feet!  No pets are allowed there at all.)

But they don't want you to make like Michael Phelps and turn the place into a swimming or wading pool.  Park Service spokesman Bill Line says it's illegal to walk or wade in the water or to splash others in the Rainbow Pool.

"It is also considered to be highly disrespectful to World War II veterans, sadly most of whom are no longer with us," Line said. "There should be a high level of respect and decorum displayed at all times at the Memorial."

It really shouldn't come to this, but sometimes Park Service officers have to make people come out of the water.  Line points out to a local TV station in DC that the Memorial "is not and never has been designed to be a swimming pool. It is to commemorate and honor the supreme sacrifice that 16 million people made during World War II."

I've never been there, but I saw the above photo the other day and reposted it, to see how people felt about the situation.  And I got a lot of interesting and well-thought-out comments about it. I would guess  - although I didn't tally up the "votes" - that most of those who commented on my page felt that wading and splashing in the memorial pool was disrespectful to the memory of the veterans, but there were those who said that the veterans would want people to cool their feet on these days when it's hotter than the hinges on Hades out there.  There were good points being made on either side of the matter, and even some of those who were for people getting in there were veterans themselves, although none of them served in World War II.

And that's when my Dad served, and I have a feeling that if he were still here, he would a) be 102 years of age and b) the side of him that felt that rules were meant to be followed would overshadow the side of him who would want to cool his heels in the waters of a fountain honoring him and his fellow sailors, soldiers and airmen.

But you'd have to ask him.  His opinion is as good as anyone else's.

1 comment:

Steve Finnell said...
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