Under the shadow of Ulysses S. Grant the children gather. They point and whisper, wondering at the giant statue. He sits atop his horse, a mighty stead, iron legs ready to charge at first light. His gaze is steady as he surveys the land ahead, unaware of of his captive audience. He wears his hat and coat along with the weight of the world on his shoulders.
Flanking his sides are his men, bold and of strange courage. Artillery to one end and the cavalry to the other. They're locked forever in battle, awaiting their general's orders. They're joined by the lions that lay anxiously, watching for their opportunity to pounce. Each to his corner, fearless, surrounding their iron god.
Not content to simply stare in wonder, the children climb and clamber up. Standing among the warriors of old they run their hands along the metal, feeling every crease of the artists hands. Bold and fearless youth, ready to stand and charge alongside the cavalry. Play acting wars long since put to rest, the shells of the artillery blast overhead. They children are with them in the mud and dirt; dug in, pushing forward, fighting for every inch of ground. Lost in games they almost don't hear the teacher's call to order.
Quickly they are composed again, gathering as before to hear the stories of presidents past. As the teacher wraps up and prepares to move on, a single pair of eyes remain steadfast on the general. An understanding is dawning on the young boy. The quiet sealed lips of the old president speak volumes to him in few words. As if some magic drawn from ancient times were allowing the statue to speak: Even heroes run out of stories...
Old world wisdom in the fresh, young ears of a child, standing under the shadow of Ulysses.