Monday, June 6, 2011

Washington DC

Melissa and I returned from Washington DC last Monday evening and here is a short recap of our trip. DC was amazing in every way. We were incredibly impressed with the city we were both pleasantly surprised.

Our flight out of here was good, no major delays or anything; we arrived at Reagan International at about 11pm, hopped in a cab and were at our hotel about 15 minutes later, it was very easy. We got a good night sleep and woke up the next morning ready for some sightseeing. We headed down to the Metro and bought our passes and headed down to the Holocaust Museum. The DC subway was very clean and easy to use. We got in line for our tickets to the Museum and headed in, The Holocaust Museum was amazing, it was beautiful and sad, probably not the best way to start a vacation. But it was a must see and we were both glad that we went. The thing that sticks out the most for me was the room of shoes. If I think about it I can still smell that old leather smell that was heavy in that room it was very sad and made the whole thing seem more real, pictures are one thing being seeing all of the shoes that were left behind from Majdanek was something else.

After that we headed to Arlington National Cemetery. I loved Arlington it was amazing. The grounds are incredibly beautiful and I found it peaceful. We walked up to JFK’s grave site. It was very impressive seeing the black stone with his name on it and the eternal flame burning was a sight that I will remember. After JFK we headed to the Tomb of the Unknowns. This was by far the most amazing thing I have ever seen. Watching the Tomb guard do his walk of 21 steps turn, wait and repeat was incredible. We saw the changing of the guard. I luckily got down to the front row and had a great view, Melissa stayed back a few feet so she could stay in the shade. It was hot outside. Anyway the changing of the guard was easily one of the most impressive things I have ever seen. Everything was perfect, I wish I had an ounce of the discipline these soldiers have. I loved watching the changing of the guard. Looking back on our trip, it was easily my favorite thing I saw while in DC. After watching the changing we continued looking around Arlington, we saw Audie Murphy’s grave, the War Nurses memorial, and the memorials for both shuttle disasters. Arlington was amazing, I could have easily spent all day walking around there.

After Arlington walked across the Memorial Bridge and went to the Lincoln Memorial and the Vietnam War Memorial, the Wall was stunning. To gaze upon those 58,000 names was a sight to behold. It was sad there. Quite a few veterans were there and many of them were sad. It was hard to be there, but incredible to see. After the Wall we headed back to our room to relax and rest. We headed out for a nice dinner and back to our room to hit the rack. It was a long hot day of walking and we were both beat.

Sunday we got up and headed out on the subway, we went down to the White House to check that out, very neat to see it in person, it is quite the spot. The grounds were beautiful and I kept thinking how fun it would be to get a game of baseball going on that lawn. We were lucky enough to see Marine-1 leave the White House with President Obama aboard. That was quite the sight. After the white house we headed over to the World War II Memorial. As we walked up on the World War II Memorial I was instantly struck by sadness and a feeling of great loss. I felt my father’s presence there and it made me both sad and very proud. My dad was a WWII vet and it was great to see the Memorial built for his service. Walking into the oval, I had a hard time. I was incredibly overwhelmed with loss and I tried to hide my watery eyes. I felt close to my father there and didn’t want to leave. We sat down by the oval pool and I just remembered. It was a very emotional experience for me. When we return to DC I plan on bringing a photo of my dad to the WWII Memorial and placing it at the Minnesota pillar in his memory. After that we headed up to Hard Rock CafĂ© for lunch. Once again it was really hot outside and we both wanted some where cool we could sit, eat and relax. The FBI building was right across the street from Hard Rock so that was pretty cool for us. Melissa more than I is a huge X-Files fan, so I think it was pretty neat for her to see the FBI building. I got a picture of her standing in front of the building. It was fun. We looked for Scully and Mulder but didn’t see them. After lunch we headed to the National Archives and looked at the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and the Declaration of Independence. It was neat to see them and to think that everything his country stands for is written on those pieces of paper. We both enjoyed the National Archives. After the archives we headed to the Smithsonian Museum of American History. One of the things that I really want to see was Mr. Rogers’s sweater, Kermit the Frog and Archie Bunkers chair in the Smithsonian. I got to see 2 of the 3, sadly Mr. Rogers sweater was not on display that day, but Kermit and Archie’s chair were there so that was really cool. After a bit more walking around and taking in the experience of DC we headed back to our hotel and had a nice dinner at a little Chinese place that we found. Another awesome day. Monday we woke to another hot and humid day. We had a short day since our flight out was in the late afternoon. We headed down to the Marine Memorial that was really cool to see. It was way bigger than I thought it was be, the statues of the men raising the American Flag are huge. It was a cool memorial and I am glad we saw it. After that we headed back to the National Mall area, went to the Air and Space Museum and had a nice lunch. After lunch we walked around a bit more and then it was time to head for the airport for our flight home, which went off without a hitch. We got home at 8pm, and had time to unwind and relax before bed, and work the next day.

DC was amazing. We both loved it there. In fact we liked it so much we have plans to go back at the end of September. I can’t wait. There are a few more things that we both want to see and I really want to go back to the WWII Memorial and Arlington.
If you haven’t been I highly recommend DC it was very impressive.