The summer sun is blazing down, and at the National World War II Memorial, shade is hard to come by. You stare at the inviting pool, the jets of cool water spurting from the memorial’s fountain beckon you forward. Do you dip your toes in or, better yet, wade in for relief from the heat?
You could, but you would be violating National Park Service rules — as signs at the memorial clearly state. And, in the minds of some, it is also tacky and disrespectful.
Washington is a city of memorials — somber places where we reflect on who we are and those who have perished fighting for the nation’s ideals. It is also a city full of tourists on Segways and hordes of school kids in matching uniforms. Every day, those two worlds collide. How, exactly, is one supposed to strike the delicate balance between relaxed vacationing and respectful, dignified reflection?