By Edward M. Bury, APR (aka The PRDude)
For the past six years, I’ve had the privilege of attending the Annual Meeting of the Transportation Research Board, always held in Washington, DC, and always in early January.
My key tasks there are to participate in the meeting of the Technology Transfer Committee (where I proudly serve as Communications Task Group chair) and manage a reception hosted by the transportation research unit that’s part of the university where I’m employed.
During my brief — three days, two nights — sojourn to the capital, I try to come away with some new perspective on the nation: Where we’re headed, what remains good in America, where are roadblocks to overcome.
I’ve shared my thoughts in past PRDude posts. For example, in this January 17 post from last year, I offered insight on the impact the government shutdown that lasted into early 2019 had on mobility in the District.
The impeachment trial of President Donald J. Trump has been at the forefront of things taking place in Washington over the past few weeks. So, I looked for a something else to capture my attention, to provide inspiration.
I found it in the image above, the memorial to organized labor giant Samuel Gompers, while walking along Massachusetts Avenue.
Yes, the District is home to many compelling memorials to men and women, military heroes and leaders from other parts of the world. What struck me about the Gompers Memorial– aside from the striking representation of the seated Gompers flanked by figures of the labor movement — was this statement on the southwest side of the pedestal. It reads in part;
No lasting gain has ever come from compulsion. If we seek to force,
we but tear apart that which united is invincible.
These words by Gompers (who I learned was English by birth and a cigar maker by trade) encapsulated the labor movement he helped forge.
But I wish the members of Congress, those in the Executive Office and members of he Supreme Court would take these words to heart in regards to what’s taking place in Washington today.
We as a nation would be on firmer ground if we heeded the wisdom of an English cigar maker.