Carved into the front of one of the Smithsonian buildings is a quote that says something along the lines of ‘museums are important because they make us see beyond ourselves.’ No doubt, the world is a big a beautiful place full of truths that are not known to me. But once in a while it is a small mundane little thing that hits you like a punch in the gut. The first time I remember having that feeling was in middle school. I saw a photo exhibit of piles of shoes in concentration camps. One was labeled with a location and date that made me aware that a pair of those shoes could have been Anne Frank’s. I watched LieLie have a moment like that last summer in Musee Des Invalides. She saw a toy bear that had been found in a trench after WW1. A little totem from someone’s pocket that made it all seem real. Finn and I both had a moment like that on this trip to DC. For me it was the homemade Christmas ornaments on the tree at the Vietnam Memorial. “To Jim love mom and dad” on a paper ornament with a photo of s painfully young soldier. 42 plus years later and they are still decorating a tree for him. You don’t get over loosing your child. Ever. I cried like a baby when I saw that. The next day, at the air and space museum. Finn saw this matchbook. He started crying and said “half a million soldiers didn’t”. Sweet boy.