D.C. and My Not-so Inspiring Visit to the MLK Memorial


Flying to D.C.’s National Airport, I just knew my time in the nation’s capital would spawn some great, earth shattering, inspirational posts, especially since I had plans to visit the newly constructed Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

I imagined myself writing about how the visit to the memorial had ignited something in me, how being there had made me realize that I wanted to save the world from itself. I was also (secretly) excited about the great photo opp the visit would provide me.

My first few days in the city included me dealing with the ball of nervousness that had kept me prisoner for the last two weeks. In addition to visiting with my travel clique, I was there to present my very first conference paper and to support a panel that was put together for some of the authors from the book I had been blessed to be a part of.

My presentation was on Friday, so anything between my Wednesday arrival and then was really just a blur of nervousness filled with me praying that I didn’t completely embarrass myself. I ate. I practiced. I tried taking my mind off of it. But I’m a dweller. So, I took solace in dwelling on the pending moment. Then, the moment that months before I was excited about and weeks before I had become terrified by, had come. And in a little under 10 minutes, the moment had passed. Things went well. My presentation wasn’t the slam-dunk that I had hoped for. It was more like a soft lay-up from a mild-paced fast break. I was just happy that it was over and I could get on with my life, which would include 1. a night of drinking to celebrate my lay-up of a presentation and 2. a visit to the MLK Memorial.

First up, my night of drinking. It had to be no less than an hour after finishing my presentation did I happily proclaim my need to “get drunk tonight.” I was all in. I was ready and most importantly I felt that I deserved a night of just not thinking. This whole being intellectual thing is very draining. My parents took me to one of their favorite restaurants in downtown Alexandria. Chart House Restaurant was beautiful, great, awesome, luxurious, top notch, everything a girl could hope for after the day I had.

The drink I had promised myself earlier in the day was really good. Yes, drink. Sadly there was no “s” at the end. The MIA sign that the gym had no doubt posted as a sign of my three-week absence kept me from indulging. I couldn’t stop thinking of all the extra calories I would consume in the alcoholic beverages. I couldn’t bring myself to order an additional drink. I just couldn’t. But my stuffed flounder and chocolate lava cake more than made up for those missing calories.

My caloric intake in pictures:

Then moment 2 came, my visit to the MLK memorial. Let me begin by first saying this: from the time we left my parent’s apartment to the time it took to run a few errands and finally arrive at the memorial, the temperature had to have dropped 10-15 degrees. It was cold. It was windy. But I remained focused on seeing the towering monument. After a very short walk, we finally arrived at the memorial. I quickly scanned King’s famous quotes that were etched into what I assumed was marble (but after further research discovered it was granite). I waited for the tears to come as I read the quotes, one by one. I waited for the inspiration to be lit within me. Even as I stood next to the 30 ft tall statue of King ceremoniously stepping “out of the mountain of despair,” I waited for “the moment” to hit me. But as I stood shivering, smiling for each picture, there were no tears. There was no inspiration. There was no “moment.” The optimist in me simply blamed the God forsaken cold weather for my lack of emotion. I may have other introspective thoughts on this in the future, but for now I’d rather stick with blaming the cold for my not-so inspiring visit to the very much praised and applauded Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial.

Me. Cold and Emotionless.
Me. Cold and Emotionless.

 Have you made a trek to see that “special something” and the emotions you had hoped for didn’t quite come? Please share your experience below.

More from Nicole E. Jackson

I ate Italy, and you should too!

As I look over the photos from my trip to Rome, there...
Read More