It’s not the long line of dignitaries that you see outside the tiki bar across the street from Locke-Ober, Virginia’s Taddle Creek Park.
It’s not the powerful presence of police and deputies on the fringes of the tribute-ing crowd lining the concrete sidewalk and beach.
It’s not even the 17 people, including a local TV reporter, along with 20 others, surrounding it in silent reverence as it rains.
It’s probably the watermark on the sidewalk that reads, “Florence Rosberg Memorial” — an empty cement slab.
“Did you know the simple work of writing on the sidewalk could be a crime?” asked Artyana Tasheva, managing editor of The Northern Virginia Daily.
Tasheva is the creator of the honor-ing ritual. Tasheva started tahvish, a public art project, in Taddle Creek Park last year, where she and a friend co-created another bronze tribute to Rosberg.
“When I would walk up to the veterans memorial, people were crying, they were passing by and stuff,” she said. “It was really sad. It was the soldiers, sailors and airmen. It was, ‘We knew the woman behind it.’ ”
Tasheva brought the two projects together with an artistic poster — an image of Rosberg wearing a bikini with military insignia emblazoned across her back.
The initial memorial had only two people there to dedicate it: Tasheva and a veteran.
“Now,” Tasheva said, “it’s gotten to be this impromptu community that’s been coming up.”
Rosberg, a Crystal City native, died at age 70 in 2015 after battling breast cancer. She volunteered with the Pentagon Women’s Forum for more than a decade, teaching women from military families how to lead small businesses.
As Tasheva explains, the memorial simply represents Rosberg, without the military insignia, raising it in the rain, as the rain makes its mark.
“She started running when she was 80 and she started running a 5K last year,” Tasheva said. “She kept going and going.”
The small plaque reads:
“Tallulah May Lee Rosberg: (25 July 1926 – 27 September 2015) Friend, boss, neighbor, community member, grandmother, teacher, mentor, icon, inspiration, man of grit, determination, pure love of life, patriotic American. On behalf of the H.O.R.D.E. community, thank you for all that you taught and inspiring your youth. We loved you more than you know.”
What Tasheva wants to do is end up with an actual memorial.
“It’s not enough just being a community that recognizes this,” she said. “You know, sometimes you don’t even get recognized when you open up a restaurant. You walk down the street and you get hit on by people, and it’s like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s that restaurant!’ ”