Today was an adventure through a most amazing place of learning; the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.
We ventured through as many exhibits as humanly possible. My son, typically fearful of the larger than life-sized tornado, actually meandered into the weather systems hall for a closer look. I was proud of his ability to gradually overcome this fear to a more established comfort.
Also during our visit, we toured the usual Great Train Story. This is a model train exhibit showing the ventures from Chicago to Seattle, which is a trip we hope to take some day as a family. We rode in a real tractor, played with steam engines and gears, scoped out a fairy princess castle, and even visited the U-505 (another favorite).
Every time we visit the museum, we find ourselves drawn to the history and symbolism behind the U-505. I’m proud of my country for their feat; this huge accomplishment while risking their lives that provided a huge vantage over the Germans during the war. I’m amazed and in awe of the massive metal structure and the story behind its journey from the Atlantic to landlocked Chicago. I’m also saddened. Every time I gaze upon this submarine I’m filled with sadness. I’m sad for the lives lost during this time. I’m sad for the way families had to suffer. I know this is part of our history, but at times I contemplate what if war wasn’t the answer? What if we could all truly find an amicable way around our differences?
I know my way of thinking isn’t ideal. Maybe that’s my utopia though; a world where violence isn’t the answer, ever. But every time I visit this particular exhibit, I can’t help but feel this way. Except today was different; the museum was in total, utter chaos. Now keep in mind, we typically roam the museum passages early enough to feel as though we have the place to ourselves. There were so many people it felt as though the museum had a new pulse, a new sense of life. Spring Breakers exploring the museum’s wonders for the first time brought about a sense of intrigue, imagination, and expression. Today I focused on the museum’s visitors more than the exhibits, and this helped me live U-505 moments from a different perspective, with a different sense of appreciation.
While I love the museum and the U-505, I love even more that we have a place to explore the past without having to relive it. May the lives lost never be forgotten. May the love of learning and exploration continue on for generations to come.