Topic: "Seems Like Yesterday"(4)
While preparing for this morning's trek up Mount Doom, Frodo was ruminating through wheat and barley product, searching for raisins, and listening to Don Imus discuss current events with Tim Russert. RFDTV connects to Frodo's breakfast table via satellite, and the radio in Frodo's motorcar is tuned to ABC out of New York City, so that he can catch an entire interview if it merits attention. This morning Tim Russert said something that truly surprised Frodo, and brought a sense of perspective to the enormity of the events of the past few days.
Russert told Imus that he had gone to the Pentagon to interview former Secretary of State Colin Powell. Although he did not indicate the date, it had to be no later than 2004. During the interview, he said, he felt the effect of too much coffee, and asked Secretary Powell to excuse him for a moment, and to direct him to a Men's Room. Secretary Powell responded by telling Russert to simply step into the hall and walk until he saw an open lavatory door. "There are, you know," Powell said, "two, everywhere you see one." Russert paused, and asked Powell what he meant by that, but realized the answer as soon as he asked the question.
The Pentagon was designed and built with separate bathrooms for blacks and whites.
The Pentagon, the largest office building in the world, and the bastion of command for the most powerful military in the history of mankind, was built to accommodate segregation of the races. Frodo, not unlike both Russert and Imus, was stunned by the revelation. "Imagine," thought Frodo, "that there are a myriad of young black men and women buried within spitting distance of that building, who died in defense of our country, and they couldn't even piss in the same room with George C. Marshall, or any other soldier who just happened to be white."
Jeff Greenfield gave a memorial report on tonight's "CBS Evening News," recalling his experience at age 24, 40 years ago today, as a speechwriter for Robert Frances Kennedy. When the last light flickered off the fallen body, held by a young Asian waiter, Katie Courick asked Greenfield if it didn't seem like such a long time ago.
"It seems like yesterday," he said.
There is so much to remember. There is so much to forget.