Vacation photos this week for Saturday Snapshot, from my trip to Washington D.C. last fall. I’d never been there, and one of the things I was most excited to see was the Lincoln Memorial. I like Mr. Lincoln, but I think it was also because the Memorial comes up so often in books and movies–and because of Heinlein.
The first time I can remember being struck by the Lincoln Memorial was reading Citizen of the Galaxy by Robert Heinlein, probably 12 or 15 years ago. (A good book, by the way.) It’s set in the distant future, humanity has spread across the stars, a trip from California to Washington D.C. is an easy jaunt by hovercar or something like it…but at one point, the characters visit the Lincoln Memorial. The timelessness of it struck me, that in this distant future where everything is different, the Lincoln Memorial is still there. Sure, it’s fiction written by a modern author, with modern priorities, but it made sense.
I reread Citizen of the Galaxy in the last year or two, remembering very little except the Lincoln Memorial–and I found out I hadn’t remembered that right anyway. They go to the Lincoln Memorial, but it’s a re-creation, which kind of spoils it–but maybe not, because the principle is still true. Some things, like Stonehenge and the Roman Colosseum and perhaps the Lincoln Memorial, last. Which makes visiting them like visiting a bit of history.
And at least I know that Mr. Smith was at the real one, when he went to Washington!