Sunday, July 17, 2011

The family goes to Washington!

We just got back last week from a great trip to Washington D.C. Our kids have never been and Mike and I haven't been since we were first married! It was one of our greatest vacations! We saw SO much...yet there's still so much more we could have seen! We were surprised how large the White House was...and I was surprised how close to "downtown" it was just up the block to a store that sold souvenirs of the White House..that was very strange to me...Somehow I thought it would be much more secluded and private! It is set far back from the street...yet somehow still so visable to the public! My girls both said they wondered if the President's girls secretly look out and watch people and wish they could go bike riding or to the park!

We had a fantastic tour of the Capital building...We set it up through our local office and had a wonderful tour by a college intern! We learned so much (I"ll admit..I wasn't looking real forward to this tour but Mike was and it was great!) We got lucky and at the end of the tour when we went back to the office our State Rep. walked in the door and we had a great photo opp!! I was in awe of the art work and the gorgeous pieces of art and fixtures and marble work and paintings and statues the Capital had! We sat in and listened to people approaching the "floor" in hopes that the President will hear about their proposals! We heard great history of previous Presidents, we saw where Presidents are laid out when they die for viewing...we walked underground tunnels to get to the Capital from across the street at the State Rep's was amazing and we would highly recommend this tour!

This is the one thing that made me so emotional...The wall that holds the names of fallen soldiers in Vietnam..My dad was in Vietnam and I stood there so thankful I wasn't reading his name on that wall! I discretely watched people with a map of sorts discover where, perhaps a loved ones name was and I watched a lady hold her hand on the wall and softly cry "oh daddy"..Did she every know her daddy? was her mother expecting her when he died? was she a toddler? did she remember him....and it still meant so much to her as an adult...I stood frozen ...thinking how unimaginable that would be......and then I was overwhelmed at the magnitude of names and the grief this must have caused......What a beautiful way to honor these men! I was struck at the silence and the quiet hush over this area of the park ...There were maybe 100 people walking but all you could hear was the soft spoken tour guide explaining the wall and how to find names and I smiled watching my own children being instinctively quiet and thought-filled.

and I am Miss Julia Child myself!! haha This was at the Smithsonian of American History...Yes I realize many of you will find it quirky that the ONE photo I post is about...COOKING! haha There were amazing things to see there, some sad, some old, some new...There was an amazing display of the dresses all the first ladies wore for the inaugural ball...Accept for Mrs. Ford, since her husband was made Vice President when President Nixon left she "chose" her favorite gown to be on display..they were all gorgeous! Mrs. Obama's dress was stunning..all white with little crystals and her jewelery was amazing!! Even their shoes were displayed....Mrs. Lincolns waste on her gown was so small I couldn't imagine what she looked like!! That was a great display. There was a moving display during the Civil War times.....Many many many more....I loved the little "fun" ones...The Ruby Slippers from Wizard of Oz, Fonzie's leather jacket, Archie Bunker's Chair, Michael Jackson's hat....and of course: JULIA CHILD'S KITCHEN! I love the movie Julie and Julia so to see this kitchen was a treat!! She was ahead of her time on organizing and having gadgets!!

We also went to Arlington Cemetery.....We only made it half way because it was 99* out and 100% humidity and many hills to walk! But I was amazed again at the quietness and respect of those visiting! We saw where John F. Kennedy was buried and the eternal flame at the base of his burial place...When I saw all those little white gravestones I was so taken aback... I couldn't believe how many and how young the soldiers were when you read their dates of birth and passing! The grounds were stunning and tied in so well with the reverence that was just naturally there as you walked along the grave sights.....It's amazing to me that they took such care to honor these soldiers in such a beautiful and serene place!

It was a great that kept us thinking and remembering almost daily since about some part of it! My kids learned so much and so did I!!