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Reflection At The Lincoln Memorial

From World War II veterans from Texas to Secret Service agents in training, the Lincoln Memorial was a crossroads of tourism and uncertainty today as people snapped photos and speculated about the next president.

George and Melanie Trail brought their 5-year-old son from their home in Manassas to the Lincoln Memorial because they wanted him to stand at the spot where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream Speech" because they believe if Obama is elected it would be the fulfillment of King's dream.

"The dream started here," said George Trail IV. "My dad was a foreign service officer and I spent most of my childhood in Africa. It's cool how a part-African man can become president of the United States."

"My dad used to be the ambassador to Malawi, so for us it is not just that Barack is (possibly) the first black president, he has African roots," he added.

The class of Secret Service agents were holding a mock exercise, but when some learned that a reporter was nearby, one asked, "Have you heard anything about the race?"

The agents' light-hearted mood stood in contrast to a group of World War 11 veterans from Texas.

When asked about the election, Robert Goodridge said, "It means that our freedoms are everlasting."

Marylnn Lanigenhorn, who was pushing one of the men in a wheelchair, said, "If it wasn't for these World War II veterans we wouldn't be having an election."

Yvonne Mukase, an immigrant from Rwanda who lives in Hyattsville, also came to the Lincoln Memorial with her niece Leah Jamieson, 13, and her 5-year-old nephew Ryan.

Mukase reflected on the meaning of the historic election in terms of the nation's race relations.

"We have a long way to go but on the other hand we have made a lot of giant steps."

Hamil R. Harris

By Hamil Harris  |  November 4, 2008; 6:51 PM ET
Categories:  2008 Presidential Race  
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