Common Sense: Lessons Learned from a Child

Leave it to a kid, to leave an adult thinking.

I just came back from a long weekend in Washington, D.C. and I can't recommend it enough.

My wife and I were there to drop our daughter off for a 10-day Washington culture program she's involved in for girl scouts. You had to see me saying goodbye to her — I don't know how I'm going to handle college!

But I digress.

The kids are having the time of their lives: memorials, museums, lectures at the Capitol, tours of the White House and, my daughter hopes, maybe a chance to see President Bush himself.

She is in awe and so are her friends. She is not jaded and neither are they. The girls aren't talking about the Condit mess at the Capitol. Most are just ogling the Capitol. They are still star-struck. They are still spellbound. They are stunned. Washington can still do that for the young and even for the not so young.

How can you not be moved visiting Arlington National Cemetery and seeing all those white crosses? Or the cold blocks of granite, with the names of more than 50,000 dead U.S. soldiers at the Vietnam Memorial? Or the stark reminders of that many lost — and more globally — at the Korean Memorial?

Yes, I was just a tourist, but one soaking it all in just like my daughter. And I stood in awe just like my daughter. It did me good. It would do this nation's critics good as well.

People keep saying we have to stop these war memorials. After all, these wars are long gone.

A lot of the victims' families are too.

But not me. Not in this day and age. I say, you can't build enough, remember enough, think enough, or simply bow your head to say thank you enough. For what they did to make that Capitol shine.

I'm ashamed to say it took my daughter to put that in perspective. I'm not ashamed to say I'm very grateful she did.

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