Washington Park, Part 2

Dear Liza,

Yesterday I told you about the Fireman’s Memorial, The Japanese Garden and the International Rose Test Garden. Today I will tell you what came next.

These next paragraphs are sad.

Feeling like my bucket of humanity was full, I decided to head down the hill. Along the way I saw signs for the Holocaust Memorial. The Holocaust was a terrible time in Europe in the 1930s and 1940s when the leader of Germany, Adolph Hitler, decided that his country (and all countries) would be better if there were no Jews, gypsies, artists, gay people, or anyone who disagreed with the government. He ordered his government to kill over 6 million men, women and children. That is the Holocaust.IMG_8585.jpg

The entrance to the Memorial feels almost accidental. You see a doll left on a bench, then a broken suitcase on the path. Then a baby shoe and a damaged menorah. You realize these are made of bronze, and that they are here to show the chaos and horror of being stolen from your own life and hustled away on trains to camps where you will be killed. img_8587.jpg

Walking forward, there is a curved wall with plaques carved with writings from people who survived this Holocaust. On the back are names of people who died.

Having had my soul filled with beauty and joy from the gardens, it was now overflowing with sadness at the cruelty of humanity. I sat and stared and cried for a while.IMG_8590.jpg

Again starting down the hill, I saw a sign to the Lewis and Clark Plaza. Huh? That’s where President Teddy Roosevelt dedicated the Lewis and Clark Memorial in 1903! That’s a location from the story I have been draining my brain on! So of course I had to walk over. The platform is made of brick, with a tall granite column with state seals from Idaho, Oregon, Washington and Montana. Somewhere under the brick is the time capsule Teddy buried on May 21, 1903. But the historians have misplaced it. So it is still there. Cool.IMG_8597.jpg

I spent a while picturing the crowds that stood in the pouring rain that day, listening to speeches, bands and choirs and cheering for the President and the country.

My heart now not only filled but double shelved and overflowing with the best and worst of humanity, I finished my trip down the hill. Along the way I met a young mother with a toddler and infant, who asked me directions to Washington Park. I hope she enjoys it as much as I did, and hoped secretly the children slept through the Japanese Garden.

Love, Grandma Judy

Author: Judy

I am a new transplant to Portland from Salinas, a small city in Central California. This is a blog about my new city.

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