Day 2 in the Capitol - WASHINGTON DC

Trip Start Sep 07, 2008
Trip End Dec 10, 2008

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Flag of United States  , Maryland
Sunday, November 9, 2008

Day 2

Earlyish start at 8.30am with drive to Metro Station to get the subway into the city. We really wanted to do a tour of the Capitol Building, but it is limited to numbers and it's a 'first come, first served' basis.  So we found ourselves in a queue (with many others), waiting our turn for tickets, (this a free tour).

At 9.30am we were given our tickets for a 2.30pm tour (everything booked before then) , but  we counted ourselves lucky, as there were many, many people behind us, and there's only a maximum of 40 people per tour,(the last one at 3.30).  But, of course we now needed to fill in the rest of the day.   We headed straight across the road to the Botanical Gardens.  This was a dream shared by the Presidents of the late 18th century to have a Botainc Garden, and the first one opened in 1920.  It's been open to the public (again free of charge) since 1850.   The kids really enjoyed this, it's broken up into 'rooms', more accurately domed glasshouses, and it's all themed, for example, one room is The Jungle, the next The Desert and so on.   One of the rooms had minatures of the important buildings ie: The Capitol (see photo). 

After that we were on the subway again, destination: Arlington National Cemetry.  This is where the Memorial Day and Veterans Day ceremonies are held (in fact there's one on Tuesday, so we're going to show the kids that service on TV, seeing as they've been there).   It's also more famously known for the burial site of John F Kennedy.  His wife is buried next to him, as is their 2 day old baby son Patrick, and their stillborn baby daughter.   Just for your info, children can be buried with their parents if they died before they were 21.  Hence, JFK jnr was not buried here, but sadly, there are 55,000 children that are.

Also, this cemetry is known for the serviceman, who have either been killed in action, or passed on naturally.  There are still some 25+ burials per week here,  but it is not for general public - you either have to be a soldier , judge, president etc.    As we toured around, we were asked to remember that, this is in fact a cemetery and not a park, or playground, and to be respectful and maintain silence.  We were very lucky to also see the changing of the guard, at the Tomb of the Unknown Solider.  This tomb is guarded 365 days of the year, regardless of the weather. 

By the time we got back into the city, had some lunch, we were in line to start our tour.  Of course, just like everything here, you have to go through the whole security baggage system etc.  Belts off, and no food or drink whatsoever.     But we were allowed to take photos once inside, and the photos actually best tell the story.  But all I can say is, what an incredible place to work.  The Senate, and the House of Representatives are joined by a Rotunda which is taller than the Statue of Liberty, and the artwork in there is incredible.  On the ceiling of the Rotunda is a painting of George Washington with 15 ladies that representated: the Original 13 States, plus one for Freedom and one for Liberty.  Unfortunately, the photograph doesn't really show it that clearly, so you'll just have to believe me, when I say it is quite mesmorizing.     This was a guided tour that was done exceptionally well, and we spent time in the original House Chamber (which is now called National Statuary Hall),  which had bronze and marble statues from every state (at the time, each state was asked to donate 2 statues, of whomever they liked).   
After that we went downstairs to the Crypt.  It was called that, because originally when they built it, they wanted to bury George Washington there.  It didn't happen because they hadn't built it in time before he died, and he had stipulated in his will, that if this were the case, he wanted to be left in peace at his resting place, where he still is.  
Now, we were totally engrossed in this story, that we didn't see what was happening behind us, but suddenly I heard Gary yell out to me, and turned around to see Trent with his head on the side, jammed, (and I mean JAMMED!)  in between a glass display cabinet (height about 4 ft), and a solid concrete support pillar (you'll see the support pillars in the photos).  He had obviously wanted to look at the contents of the glass cabinet from the side (instead of on the top as we would normally do), and his head had moved slightly, and somehow he just got stuck.  But we started to panic, when I really couldn't get him out! Try and imagine I could only see half his face, the skin on his nose and forehead was all squashed up because he was in so tight.  We couldn't obviously move the pillar, and the display cabinets were like stone and cemented into the floor.  One of the attendants saw was happening and called for security straight away.  We had 3 police there within seconds, just as Gary managed to squeeze himself down on the floor, lift up Trents feet, therefore taking his weight, and by doing that we got him out.   He was in shock for a little while (as we all were), and he now sports quite an impressive graze and bump.    The police were amazing, bought him bottle of water, gave him an 'official Police Sticker badge', and slowly he came right.   Actually, the policeman gave us his name and cellphone number, so that if we were at all worried about Trent, we could phone him and he would arrange some medical help for us.  

Another drama in the life of the Foremans.
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