We went into D.C. the Saturday after Thanksgiving. The weather was just perfect, 60, sunny and clear. Ofcourse this meant there would be a ton of other tourists too. First we stopped at Arlington and then headed across the river. We looked for a parking spot for over an hour and almost ran out of gas but finally found a spot almost right in front of the Smithsonian Welcome Center. Good thing Josh can parell park.
We knew we would not get to see everything there was to see but we tried to get in all the major sites and walked about as quickly as possible while still enjoying and taking in the wonder and history. It was a bit frustration for Josh, me stopping every two steps to take a picture and falling behind him and the kids, but these pictures were worth his "hurry ups" and " come ons". I hope the next time we go I will have a better camera, and that Next Time.. will not be too long away.
It was very important to Josh that we go to Arlington and see The Tomb Of The Unknown. I am so glad that we did. I was very moved and emotional. I didn't realize I would be that way but I choked back tears most of the visit. Rows and rows of graves and headstones of real people who died in service to our country. I don't consider myself a real history buff or big fan of patriotic themes but when we got to Kennedy's grave and the flame.. I let the tears flow. It is such a solom place and you can feel a presence there that I can't fully explain. Also at The Tomb Of The Unknown.. I got chills and goose bumps watching the guard stand watch.. pacing back and forth and presenting his firearm in exact pristine movements and reading the words "Unknown But To God" etched in stone. I have the changing of the guard recorded and may edit it so I can share it here later. Arlington National Cemetery is important, inspirational, sadness mixed with pride, something you just have to experience for yourself. I came away with a deeper apprehension for our soldiers and veterans and the cost of freedom. As my son took it all in I could see the desire to join one of the armed services being cemented in him and all I could think..and pray.. maybe selfishly.. please don't become another one of these headstones.
We got to see all the spots on "The Mall".. Washington, Lincoln, WWII, Vietnam Memorial. and then ventured to the front of The White House. Seeing all these famous monuments was surreal. Just as you see it in pictures but different.. to be there and be in the presents of them.. sometimes they seemed so big, to go along with the big people and events they stood for and invoke remembrance and sometimes it was unimpressive.. that they should be even bigger then they are.. a big build up leading to a reality check let down. Maybe if we didn't have to rush threw it and could of properly meditated on what we were seeing it would of been different. Don't get me wrong... I am so glad and blessed that we got to be there and see it all and it will leave an impact on me and I hope my children for the rest of our lives.
I think my biggest let down was in front of The White House. It was so crowded by other people hoping to get a good picture. I had to almost push our way threw to get the children close to that ugly big black fence and squeeze them all together. The picture didn't turn out as well as I hoped. I wanted all of them together in the T-Shirts I had gotten them when we visited the Truman Presidential Museum, with a clear shot of The White House in the background. It's still a good picture and I will prob have it printed and framed but not as dramatic as I envisioned. Standing at the gate looking past the long lawn and wondering what it looks like inside I asked Zane "when you get invited to The White House (and he will.. for some reason I just know it deep down) will you bring your mom with you? You know what the snot said???!! "Won't you be dead by then or really really old??" LMBO!
With all the great sites behind us we started our aching feet back to the van parked so so far away. When we passed threw the Smithsonian gardens in the Welcome Center and saw at the Freer Gallery there was an exhibit on The Bible, we just HAD to see if we could get in before it closed. Ohhh I wish I could of taken pictures in there!! (a nice Christmas or Birthday gift would be the book on the exhibit.. you can purchase it at the online gift shop..hint hint) It was sooooooo AWESOME and I will have to say that it was one of the highlights of our trip.. the best for last! The exhibit was called "In The Beginning, Bibles before the year 1000". It was fragments of the ancient text discovered and put on display showing the progression and forms the Bible took on threw early history. I got to stand in front and see a piece of a Dead Sea Scroll!!! For me it was just awing.. it was one of my favorite and treasured verses .. Isaiah 61. An unexpected surprise. I wish we could of taken all our time there but we had to rush threw before close.. we were the last group allowed in. It was just .. oh how to put it.. I don't know.. confirming and reassuring.. that the same scriptures in my Bible.. the same words..God's Word.. is unchanging.. just as He is.. The same yesterday.. today and forever and to show my children that.. sealing it in them too that they can trust in The Bible and what it says. I know some may not agree with that or take away something else from that exibit but that is what was impressed upon me the most. If you are in the area anytime soon.. go and see it!! It is open till Jan 17th.
Next time we go to D.C. I want to see the Suprem Court and the Capitol Building. We just couldn't get to them this time. We also hope to arrange a tour in the White House. Josh said he read somewhere that you can set it up with your Senator ahead of time if you contact them. I had hoped to go to DC in January for The March Of Life this year but with the shape of things I don't think that will happen. But we have a standing invitation with Josh's Aunts now... they just loved the kids and were so happy to see us, I know we will be back eventually.
Enjoy my pictures and here are some websites about the things we saw. Alot of information to take in and too much for me to retell here.. so check them out and educate your self lol.