Friday, June 20, 2014

Quote of the Week: Improve the World

US Capitol Grounds Memorial Tree
Aesculus Hippocastanum (Horse Chestnut)
Sponsored by Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz to honor Anne Frank
"No one need wait; start right now to improve the world"

You may remember in April that I was very excited about the upcoming planting of a sapling from Anne Frank's chestnut tree outside of the Capitol. Well, last week I moved to DC to begin a brand new graduate school program at George Washington University (more on that later) and celebrated my first full week in the city by walking down the Mall to find Anne Frank's tree.

There are a lot of trees across the west lawn of the Capitol, so if you are looking for the Anne Frank tree, go up to the steps of the Capitol and follow the path south. The tree will be on your left, right about where the circled tree is here:

I love the quote that they have chosen to accompany this tree, though I think it is a paraphrasing of this longer Anne Frank quote: "How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world." It seems especially appropriate in this location. The city seems constantly charged with a sense of purpose, perhaps because of its transient nature, which is inevitable in a city built around our ever-changing politics. Even when our government is at a near standstill, the people are active. DC is filled with long-time residents, newcomers, students, and visitors, who use every moment to learn and grow and improve the world - and the world needs a lot of improvements. Here are some recent issues that Congress has failed to make any better:
No wonder Congress' approval rating is only seven percent, the lowest it has been in history. I think it would do Congress some good to take another look at this little tree on their way to work.