The next stop on our road trip was beautiful Washington DC. We spent two days there and could have easily spent more… they were two very jam-packed days full of lots of walking.
On day one we decided to try to hit up all of the memorials, monuments, etc. Our first stop was the White House. I was really excited to see the White House garden… they keep bees! While we were there, they closed the street we were on and drove some big caravan by… lots of police cars and black SUVs. The President? Maybe. Sasha and Malia going to school? Maybe. It was neat to see, either way.
I loved this picture – as we were walking away from the gates near the White House, we saw this mounted officer giving her partner a little break:
After that we headed over to the National Mall – Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, as well as the Korean and Vietnam Memorials.
The Washington Monument was under construction. Apparently there was an earthquake a couple of years ago that did some damage to the monument… nothing structural, but stuff that needed to be fixed. It was kind of neat to see it with all of the scaffolding.
We then headed to the Lincoln Memorial via the National Mall. I loved standing on the steps and looking back at the Washington Memorial and across the pool.
Then we went on to the Korean War Memorial… this one was really moving to me. It features a series of stainless steel statues that represent a squad on patrol. It’s especially moving since I know my grandpa was there.
After that, we headed to the Vietnam War Memorial. This one was very special as well… my father-in-law and my uncle both fought there. I was in awe of the sheer number of names on the wall.
Finally, we walked across the river (technically into Virginia) to see Arlington National Cemetery. This was something that I’ve always wanted to see… I felt honored to be there among the so many who gave their lives to our country. Yes, I know that not all there died in battle, but all did in some way serve.
There was a little bit of comedy. Arlington allows a spouse and up to two children under 18 to be buried with a service member. As we passed this headstone I noticed something strange… see if you pick up on it:
So, to me, at first glance, it looked like he buried his two wives together (which he did). Once you look closer, you notice that the first wife died the same year as the infant son… probably during childbirth. Still…
We also had the chance to watch the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. The whole process was very cool to see and so respectful.
On the second day we decided to hit the Smithsonian museums. There are bunch of them, so we narrowed it down to two that we really wanted to see. The first was the National Museum of Natural History. I think the highlight of that one for me was the dinosaur exhibits. To be honest, I was a little disappointed in the museum. Maybe too many people just built it up too much, but I felt like there wasn’t anything that I hadn’t seen before. Ok, except the Hope Diamond. Don’t get me wrong, it was beautiful, but anything that big ends up looking fake to me, even though I know it’s not. The second museum that we went to was the National Air and Space Museum. This one was actually really cool… I wasn’t expecting to be that interested (Mike wanted to go there) but was surprised by the really cool exhibits they had. I loved seeing the old space craft… and was amazed at the fact that people actually agreed to be shot into space in them!
From there we headed into Virginia, but that’s another post!