I just returned from a great weekend in Washington DC.
One of the memorial experiences was a trip to Theodore Roosevelt Island - which sits in the Potomac River and is part of the National Park Service. In the 1930's it was transformed into a memorial for the 26th President.
Known as the "Conservation President" due to his commitment to the environment and establishment of several National Parks and Monuments, he's always been a president I've admired. I recently read River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard, which recounts Roosevelt's adventure down the Amazon river. Roosevelt led an interesting life!
The monument is surrounded by woods, while the rest of the island is mainly walking trails through wooded uplands and swamps. Large stones with inscriptions, and a much-larger-than-life statue surround a water feature. The sentiments on the stones struck me, that words of generations past still resonate so clearly today. Roosevelt's thoughts on Nature:
There is delight in the hardy life of the open.
There are no words that can tell the hidden spirit of the wilderness, that can reveal its mystery, it's melancholy, and it's charm.
The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation, increased and not impaired in value.
Conservation means development as much as it does protection.
The memorial also displays his sentiments on youth, manhood and the state - all containing empowering words as applicable today as they were then.
I was glad we stumbled upon this memorial that I didn't even know existed. And that I also learned one more fun fact - that the stuffed animal we all know as a "teddy bear" is named after Roosevelt! On a hunting trip in Mississippi, Roosevelt refused shoot a restrained bear, as it would be unsportsmanlike - leading to a national cartoon depicting a cuddly bear, and the rest is history.