Saturday, July 28, 2012


(This post?  5 days from start to finish.  Double the "Good gracious" from the first line.)

Good gracious.  Apparently I am enjoying my summer, and enjoying being away from this computer!  But this is getting a bit ridiculous, so I just must finish this trip.

Day 5 was yet another full day.  We saw so many great things, and didn't even get to see it all.  But what we did see?  Wow.

This is approaching the Lincoln Memorial.  Although part of me would have loved all these people to get out of the way for my picture, they actually give a good perspective of how massive this building is.  See the people on the top of the stairs??

President Lincoln, in all his grandeur.  The right side of his body is suppose to reflect the relaxed, easy-going man.  His left side tense, war-time, stressed.

Again, showing how enormous Lincoln himself is.

"Four score and seven years ago..."
The Gettysburg Address.

Lincoln's 2nd Inaugural Address

Standing on the side walkway of Lincoln, looking out at the Washington Monument and Capitol Building.

And this is the view of the floor, a picture taken as I fell right after I tripped over that wheelchair while backing up to take a picture.  Fortunately that sweet lady in the cute sandals was uninjured.
This is the exact spot where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his "I Have A Dream" speech in 1963.
Standing on the "Dream" spot.

Next up was the Vietnam War Memorial.  Oh, my.  To walk along this, everyone silently walking by, looking at the unimaginable collection of names.

This is looking back at the Vietnam War Memorial, shows how long it is.


Next up...Korean War Memorial, dedicated in 1995

Engraved in the ground:
"Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met."

A little hard to see, but there are portraits of the soldiers etched into this wall, and they all were original newspaper photos that the artists made into a collage.  Beautiful.

From there, it was a long walk to our next adventure.  We saw this lovely, inviting, grassy area and decided to lounge for a bit and eat a snack.  While there, the kids made some new friends...
Beth, of course, was in her element!

And Brenna bravely joined in.  These squirrels were so funny.  They kept eating peanuts until they were full, then they were taking them from the kids and finding places to bury the nuts...but when the kids handed them cashews?  They were quite excited to vary their diet!  They nibbled those down in a quick hurry.  We even had the fun of watching a couple squirrels try to figure out how to eat an M and M!

Next up was one of the most moving parts of our entire trip, the Holocaust Memorial Museum.

The plaza outside this memorial is named for General Eisenhower"
"Dedicated in gratitude to the supreme commander of allied forces in Europe, General Dwight Davide Eisenhower, and the valiant soldiers of all allied armies he led into battle.

Victorious in battle, they brought the third reich to an end, encountered its concentration camps, liberated the survivors and bore witness to the holocaust."

And here's what Eisenhower had to say in regards to the Ohrdruf Concentration Camp, April 15, 1945:
"The things I saw beggar description...the visual evidence and the verbal testimony of starvation, cruelty and bestiality were so overpowering...I made the visit deliberately, in order to be in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations to 'propaganda'."

And this is a quote from President Jimmy Carter, spoken at the Presentation of the Final Report of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, September 27, 1979:
"Out of our memory...of the holocaust we must forge an unshakable oath with all civilized people that never again will the world stand silent, never again will the to act in time to prevent this terrible crime of genocide...we must harness the outrage of our own memories to stamp out oppression wherever it exists, we must understand that human rights and human dignity are indivisible."

Those were extraordinarily moving words to read after experiencing what we saw in the 3 hours we were in this museum.  Appropriately, there is absolutely no photography allowed in the museum.  I couldn't have brought myslelf to take pictures of anything I saw even if it was allowed.  If you get to DC, this is a MUST see.

Last on our lengthy tour this day was the White House!  I've gotta say, it's a lot of fun to walk along Pennsylvania Avenue, which is closed to all traffic.  Parts of it feel like a movie set, with security all over, black SUV's, and the beautiful back-drop of this pretty house:

Just sittin' outside "our" house.

"Young man, what part of 'don't climb the fence' did you not understand??"

Well, valiant effort at a fun picture, but neither could keep a straight face.  The security guy is not allowed to be videotaped, so he had to check to make sure we only took a picture.  But he was a good sport for humoring us!

The backyard!  It's so pretty I really thought it was the front!

Looking down Pennsylvania Avenue.  It was fun to walk down the middle of the street!

And the next day:
...back at the airport to begin our journey home.  Even though it turned out to be a very long journey home, it was so very worth it.  A trip I am so very thankful for, and will hold close many, many memories!

(SO glad to be done blogging this trip!!!!!!!)


Friday, July 20, 2012

DC Day 4

Oh my gracious.  It is taking me far longer to blog about this trip than it took to take the trip!  I blame it on summer.  Summer days have a beautiful way of meandering, and the meandering hasn't nudged me to the computer much.  Feels good.  But I must get all this on here to preserve the wonderful memories.

So onward to Day 4!!

We had another wonderfully jam-packed day.  Let me say this straight up:  going to DC is not a "vacation" so much as it is an adventure.  You have to cram a lot in, and still you can't see it all.  And you walk.  And walk.  And walk.  And it's a bit hot, which brings on another kind of tired.  Loved it, truly loved it.  Everyone should go.  But you should be prepared.  Comfy shoes a must, being physically fit to walk a lot also a must.  Being willing to stop and sit in the grass and feed the squirrels and recharge is also a must.

So the day started with a Congressional tour of The Capitol Building.  We were so excited to see this, and I really had not stopped to think what sights we may see.  I've never imagined what the inside of the Capitol dome might look like.  Just didn't cross my mind to wonder about that.  So I was in for a HUGE treat.

We met up with our tour guide in our Senator's office.  It was oddly exciting to see our State flag set up outside that office.  A piece of home!  Our guide was an impressive young man from Seattle University who was interning for the summer.  We (and a single guy from Puyallup!) were his first ever tour, so he was a bit nervous.  We assured him this was our first ever tour, so we'd have no idea if he was accurate/informative/inclusive/good or bad...we were putty in his hands and would probably believe most of what he said.  He wanted our picture taken with him and I completely forgot! Bummer. 

The beautiful Capitol Building.  See the statue on top?  That's the Statue of Freedom, all in bronze.
And this is the plaster mold of the Statue of Freedom, on display in Emancipation Hall inside the Capitol Building.

This amazingly intricate chandelier hangs in the center of the rotunda.  It was once open to the outside, the natural ventilation system back in the day!

And this is the floor directly underneath that dome, a built-in drain for the "natural ventilation system"!

This white star in-laid into the floor marks the exact center around which Washington D.C is divided into its four quadrants. This area is known as the Crypt, and was meant to be George Washington's burial site.  He chose instead to be buried at Mt. Vernon, so we aren't standing on him here.  But this spot is where every President-elect stands before walking down the stairs in the picture below for the swearing-in ceremony.  Supposedly you are to scuff your foot on that spot for good luck.

Intricate paintings on the inside of the dome.  Zoomed in progressively below.

This is in the Hall of Statues.  Each state has 2 statues, they each represent significant history in the state, and they can't represent a currently-living significant person.

Above is Marcus Whitman from Washington State.  Supposedly his good name is marred by the fact that he spread Small Pox to a massive population of people, so rumor is that someday his statue will be replaced by Bill Gates.  Time will tell.

Now my pictures are getting a bit out of order, but because I started this 3 days ago, I no longer have the desire to make it right.

This is the view out a window, again that Washington Monument proudly showing.  This is the spot where many, many reporters choose to stand to deliver reports from the Capitol.

Nebraska's William Jennings Bryant, because I come from the Bryant family and I've heard my Grandma reference him all my life.

And from California, President Ronald Reagan.

All over D.C., you find plaques that catch your breath and take you back to a moment.
At the end of our tour was this plaque, honoring the passengers and crew of Flight 93 of 9/11.  Chilling to think that this beautiful building, full of an overwhelming amount of history, came so close to possible destruction on that day.  Heroes remembered.

The back outside we went.  Media outlets were all over the grounds.  We didn't know why at the time, but they were fun to watch.  And Alex was happy to see the black SUVs, (ala Jack Bauer) in many locations around the Capitol.
Vacation Joy!
Take One = Fail.

Take two = success!!

This was outside the Supreme Court.  Crazy amounts of media!  We didn't realize, because we were on vacation, that the ruling was coming down that morning on the Arizona Immigration law.
We stood and watched the National news correspondents from the major networks give their live reports.  It was fun to watch them after their report was done start chatting up people leaving the court and getting opinions on what they saw coming next.
Here we are on the other side of the Capitol.

One thing I loved about DC was all the security.  Everywhere.  Felt quite safe!

Next up was the Museum of Natural History.  This place was FUN!

Look how LITTLE my baby girl looks next to that whale!

It would have been nice if all those people would have moved out of the picture, but I guess they were there to see the sights too!

Doing their best to match the ferociousness of the dino behind them!

He found a few giraffes, remembering someone he was missing.

Alright.  After more fun than I can capture here, we headed out for our next tour:
The Kennedy Center!

I forgot to get a picture of the outside, doggone it.

This grand foyer is MASSIVE.  So long, in fact, that they could lay the Washington Monument down inside it and still have room on each end!

The Presidential Suite.

Someone has dreams of being on-stage here someday.

The rooftop patio view is spectacular.  In the background you can see (say it with me) the Washington Monument (to the left), and the Lincoln Memorial (to the right).

This is the Watergate Hotel.

View of the Potomac from the Kennedy Center.

Walking our weary feet back to the Metro.  We were worn out!!

Yes, this was all in one day.  And the next day was FULL and FABULOUS as well!