Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Happy Birthday To You

At this age she is anxious to help, even when it's washing the car, God bless her.

Washing the Mustang which would ferry me to the airport.

My trip to DC started off with a lovely sendoff from my family. We ate burgers and drank beer at the airport restaurant, then I went through security and OC and OH went to their magical daddy/daughter weekend. Once I got to Portland, US Airways had wisely decided to cancel the overnight flight due to thunderstorms on the east coast. Because in the time it takes to fly across the country, those thunderstorms would likely still be there.

The next day I spent flying when I should have already been there. Great! With only three days to spend being reduced to two, I was not happy. Especially after being sent to the "suspicious" line, or whatever it is at the airport where they separate you from the herd and search you special. Whatever. Security is awesome. Besides, it must have had something to do with women traveling alone, because that is all that were in line behind me. No big deal, I was rolling with it. Besides, once I got there we went to the movies! Late at night! With subtitles! Parlez-vous Francais? No, merci!

Orchids at the botanic gardens.

First things first. We needed tickets to ride the elevator to the top of the Washington Monument. Tickets are free, but they are handed out in the morning and you have to get there early. We stood in line, a line which extended down the street and around a corner. It was sunny, and beginning to get warm. We drank our coffee and ate our muffins, which we couldn't do on the Metro because they kick you off for that kind of behavior, missy! (Really, they do.)

Once we reached the ticket counter - which was really more of a booth - the list of times available were all crossed off but for one: 3:30 pm. We asked for two tickets. "That's it, tickets are all gone!" the woman in the Parks Service uniform announced. We had snagged the last two tickets to the Washington Monument...ahead of grandparents who were there with their nine-year old grandson. Try next time, suckas! I did feel a little bad, but, there were only two tickets left so they would've had to fight over who got to go and who really wants to see grandparents fight in front of their grandson? That's just sad.

Speaking of the Washington Monument, the views are not bad from the top of the District's tallest structure:

The light-colored paths down there? That's gravel. The grassy areas they use for festivals and functions and gatherings. It's a long walk from the Washington Monument to the Capitol building.

View from the top of the Washington Monument of the world's largest crop circle. Also, the White House.

The Lincoln Memorial looks small, but when you get to it it's H-U-G-E. You can read the Gettysburg Address as well as his second inaugural speech. Both are carved onto the walls. That's the WWII memorial in foreground.

We walked all over the city, including on this path that you see on the lower edge of that body of water that takes you to the Jefferson Memorial, then we continued to the right in a loop to the FDR memorial after passing about eight or nine million Future Leaders of America in their little suits and skirts who seemed to feel that leaders should have the whole sidewalk and not move for others.

When I was in the Jefferson Memorial, I noticed the various people who were in DC. The multitude of skin tones and languages milling about, all reading and taking pictures made me think about what all of these people were doing here; these monuments mean something, represent important ideals not just to Americans but to the world.

Of course we walked to the Capitol.

After seeing the Library of Congress, we walked outside to find the Supreme Court building is right next door. And yes, those stairs are quite impressive.

FDR quote.

One can't help being both awed while contemplating the second inaugural address, and giggly while remembering "The Simpson's" episode where Lisa wrote the speech but then changed it to excoriate the cesspool that is corrupt officials supposedly representing democracy. Both are true. This is a place of high ideals and backroom deals. It's human nature.

Korean War Memorial tribute.

Washington DC may be a cesspool that breeds corruption in some, but it's also a beautiful place that represents a proud nation of caring, passionate, flawed, forthright, and free people who have the opportunity to remove the corrupt and try again. Checks and balances, baby, checks and balances. And the right to vote. You gotta love it.


Kristen said...

The Lincoln Memorial is my favorite. Isn't it weird how different everything looks from the monument?

Tiggerlane said...

I went to DC a few months ago, and LOVED it...but didn't get to go to the top of the Washington Monument b/c we always got up too late.

I cried unexpectedly at the Vietnam Memorial. Awesome pics!

kerrianne said...

It IS a long walk to from the capitol to the monument. I did that one time too many. ; ) The Vietnam Memorial hit me hardest (my dad is a vet), but I loved! The Smithsonian. And the Museum of Modern Art. So much to learn! in that city.

(Hi! you.)