From a post on May 31, 2004. Apripos for this season of elections, economic uncertainty and change.
“For over a thousand years Roman conquerors returning from the wars enjoyed the honor of a triumph, a tumultuous parade. In the procession came trumpeteers, musicians and strange animals from conquered territories, together with carts laden with treasure and captured armaments. The conqueror rode in a triumphal chariot, the dazed prisoners walking in chains before him. Sometimes his children robed in white stood with him in the chariot or rode the trace horses. A slave stood behind the conqueror holding a golden crown and whispering in his ear a warning: that all glory is fleeting.” – Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.
Former Secretary of State James Baker notes, “Someone asked me what was the most important thing I had learned since being in Washington. I replied that it was the fact that temporal power is fleeting.” Baker remembers driving through the White House gates and noticing a man walking alone on Pennsylvania Avenue. The man was the Secretary of State in a previous administration. “There he was alone – no reporters, no security, no adoring public, no trappings of power. Just one solitary man alone with his thoughts. And that mental picture continually serves to remind me of the impermanence of power and the impermanence of place.”