Well, I'm going to plunge ahead with the vacation memories. Day 3 was another full day of beautiful sights. I really wanted to see the Washington National Cathedral. And we decided that we may as well SEE it and attend a Sunday service. The building is stunning. The story behind the building is even more stunning.
The service itself was wonderful. Very different from our normal, but so reverent and lovely. Simplistic, worshipful, respectful. We had a very traditional communion, and I forgot to warn the kids that it was real wine! :)
This advertisement for the cathedral asks for donations of $10 per brick. This crazy blogger is insisting that I underline right now. I'm not interested in figuring out why, so please ignore the underlining.
One very moving story was of several men who had no money to donate but wanted to be a part of it. So they worked as laborers on the Cathedral, then donated their wages back.
This was such a labor of love, spanning 83 years. The details, the craftsmanship, the amazing architecture are simply stunning.
1907, construction begins.
1990, the Cathedral is dedicated.
In August of 2011, an earthquake hit D.C, damaging parts of the Cathedral. There is now a renewed effort to raise the funds to repair the damaged areas.
Once again, it's impossible to have my little pictures show the grandeur of what we saw with our eyes. It is peaceful, beautiful, reverent...I know I've said all those things before, but apparently my little words cannot show what it was either.
This is what happens when you try to sneak in a smooch after you've let your daughter have the iPad to take pictures. She suddenly has the grand idea that this is a picture to capture!
After touring all of the Cathedral, we decided to walk around the Mall and see a couple of the Smithsonians and some of the monuments in the evening.
This is the original "Smithsonian". The tents you can see on the side were in the process of going up for a big festival that started the day we left. I'm so curious how they stood up to the 90 mph winds that hit the next day!
We started off on the downtown adventure by riding the Metro:
What a fabulous, safe, clean way to get around! This first time I was a little uptight about it, but we figured it out pretty quickly and enjoyed zipping to and fro!
We spent over 2 hours in the Air and Space Museum, and this is the only picture we took! It's from the Apollo 11 flight, worn by Neil Armstrong.
The rest of our time there was in flight simulators, meandering through the exhibits, and marveling over how far flight has come in a relatively short time!
After we left there, most everything was closing so we headed down to see the World War 2 Memorial.
On the way, we stopped to admire the Washington Monument up close. Because of the earthquake, you can't go in it, and can't get as close as normal. They are estimating it will be 2014 before it's reopened. But, as you can see, that did not deter the beauty of seeing it!
Brenna jumping for joy!
Just for perspective, directly behind Beth is the World War 2 Memorial, and behind that is the Lincoln Memorial. Directly in front of Beth is the Washington Monument. They all line up in a nice orderly line!
And here is the view of the WW2 Memorial, with the Lincoln way off in the distance.
Zoomed in on the Lincoln. This picture isn't showing well on here, but between the center pillars you can barely make out a glowing President Lincoln. (More on this beautiful memorial another day!)
I wasn't able to get this whole thing in one picture. Every time you turn your eye, there is something else to capture you. This is such a peaceful place. The large pillar above says "Pacific", the pillar below says "Atlantic". Then smaller pillars wrapping around the memorial represent each state.
A wall that tells a sombering story, for sure. Each of these stars represents 100 Americans dead or missing in WW2.
Sweet picture of the kids, well-placed monument behind them and all, but what I truly love about this picture is the little duck just to the left of Brenna. She was having so much fun splashing in the water and hanging out on the edge.
And then this sweet little family waddled itself across the length of the memorial to make their way to the Freedom pool. I just thought that was very cute. A little known fact about me is that I LOVE ducks. Love them.
As the sun began to set, it was time to make our way back to the metro for the ride back to Deb's. And guess what we saw! Lightning bugs!!!! (Or fire flies??) They just started glowing all over the grass lawn on the Mall. I have always wanted to see Lightning Bugs, and didn't even know that dream would come true on this trip!
We caught a few of them and took them back on the metro with us, only to release them the next morning after realizing nothing magical was going to happen in a zip-loc baggie.