To Form a More Perfect Union

Trip Start Jun 09, 2009
Trip End Jun 23, 2009

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Flag of United States  , District of Columbia
Sunday, June 14, 2009

Did we make it to the National Cathedral? Not quite.  Lesson One:  Be flexible.  Overslept.  I am sure the LORD will forgive me and we can just hit up the Wednesday service.  So off to Union Station for a quick breakfast and then to get first in line at the National Archives.  Home to some pretty priceless documents, this first full-day kickoff was quite a treat.  Does one get overwhelmed by the courage it took these men to Declare Independence from then a powerful monarch?   Or do you stand in awe of the brilliance of the opening words "We the People" as they literally gave birth to this new form of government called a democracy.  Or perhaps you get moved by the Magna Carta, or the Emancipation Proclamation, or the check Jefferson signed when purchasing a third of the country from France for a mere 15 million.   Or on a more recent front…Eisenhower's notes the night before D-Day, or Nixon’s handwritten speech on his resignation, or Kennedy’s memo to NASA telling them that he will make a speech promising a man on the moon in a few years.  You can't take it all in can you?  Neither could I.

After such a moving experience we sought higher ground.  550 feet higher to be exact at the top of the Washington Monument, the tallest mason structure in the world.  Splendid views at high noon with crystal clear weather gave us a perfect 360 of the layout of this great town.

After such an uplifting experience we sought cooler ground.  To the National Museum of American History!  Lincoln’s top hat the night he was shot…Jackie’s blood stained dress…Archie Bunker’s chair…Clinton’s saxophone…the Star Spangled Banner…were just a dot on the radar of thousands of dots in this huge museum.  We had to pick and choose, (which I hated doing) but you could spend two days in their alone…and the Smithsonian has 18 more museums just like it!

The sun is starting to creep over the Potomac now, so we head west toward Arlington National Cemetery.  I will not sit here and describe what I felt there…cause I simply can’t.  Maybe my images can.  Rows and Rows.  Kennedy.  Challenger.  9.11 Pentagon employees.  Unknown Soldier.  It was amazing to see hordes of tourists in the monuments and museums laughing and chatting and enjoying their day.  Here it was more hand holding, slower walking, hats removed, and only the sound of their Washington walking shoes shuffling along the gravel paths.  One Master-at-Arms told me the rate of WWII Vets passing away has the cemetery conducting about 10 burials a week.

Dinner in the Foggy Bottom district helped lighten the mood.  Calamari and pizza in this crammed 10 table bistro was wonderful.  Waiters rushed by, swinging their hips from side-to-side to navigate the narrow table separation, while the sound of clanking forks hit ceramic plates.  Orders were being yelled into the kitchen every few seconds to a crew hiding behind the effervescent flames and smoke hissing into the packed room.  The heavy oak walls were adorned with headshots of all who had been in….the likes of “the” who’s who in DC.  I scanned the room….no luck on any celebrities or power brokers tonight.

We had to walk off that rich, but great dinner.  Enjoy the images from our night tour.  The District is so much more powerful at night without all of the crowds.   Need to catch the Lincoln at night.  Couldn’t tonight with all the walking we did.

So now I sit with I wish ice packs for each foot.  I will settle for the comforts of my bed.  Albeit with the drapes cracked open so I can keep an eye on that glowing Capitol within a stone’s throw.  Tomorrow we meet our Congressman Pete Olson and head to the Library of Congress, the Capitol (with both Chambers), the Supreme Court, and who knows what else the city will deliver.  First Lesson: Be flexible. 

Day two in DC a smashing success.  My feet will disagree though.  Dispatch Out.
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