Several months ago, Nick invited me to join him on an upcoming business trip. I could choose between Santa Monica and Washington, DC. Last month found us (plus one) in DC! I'm sure I chose wisely. The east coast has so much to see that cannot be found in the west. Visiting was a great opportunity.
We flew in on a red eye. I don't sleep well anywhere but in a bed, so sitting up on a plane, holding a baby that desperately needs to keep sleeping doesn't really do much for me. I may have slept for six seconds. Or seven. Or not at all that night. The sun rose as we taxied to our hotel. Whatever check-in time may normally be, it was not 6 am. The night clerk took pity on us when he saw Pierce and let us check in early. Very early. We were relieved to slip into the cutest, tiniest hotel room I've seen in this country and catch up on some much needed rest.
One of our first stops was this well-known house. You can't see it in this picture, but the first lady has a large kitchen garden just off to the left.
In this picture, there were at least a dozen women from a tour group standing in a circle around him. I tried to be subtle about the picture, so I didn't catch them all in it, but it was pretty comical.
It can be tricky to take pictures of yourself, but here we are, in front of the Lincoln Memorial.
The walls inside the memorial are inscribed with the words of the Gettysburg Address. I was particularly struck with the words: "that these dead shall not have died in vain." Freedom, as far as it has been preserved, has been our privilege, but it did not come freely. It has been paid for time and time again by those who valued it enough to give theirs up that we might enjoy it. We should not take it lightly and must do what we can to preserve what they provided for us at such a great cost.
The best view of the Washington Monument is from the top of the Lincoln stairs. From here, you can see the tower reflecting in the pool below.
Then there were the museums. So many of them. We didn't have time to hit them all, but we saw Natural History, American History, Air and Space, the Ford Theater, and I saw the Holocaust Museum while Nick worked.
This is a piece of moon rock that can be touched! I wanted it to be off-white, like the moon at night, but it was black. That is Nick's hand.
previous post. These are Reagan's Jelly Bellies.
One other important destination for us was the LDS temple. With no car and not enough research, it took us two attempts to finally get there. The first attempt wasn't a complete loss, as we discovered a great Italian restaurant with the most amazing lemon shortcake. And we got there eventually.
One of our final, and fittingly so, stops in DC was here:
Pictures cannot be taken inside, but this is where the original Declaration of Independence, Constitution, and Bill of Rights are housed. They are in a dark, round room, dimly lit with some kind of green light, specially chosen, I'm sure, because it doesn't damage the fragile paper and ink. I felt a special spirit there, thinking of the men who had been as close to these documents as I was then, and had signed them, immortalizing themselves as traitors or heroes; dooming themselves to martyrdom or near-worship. Let's keep honoring them, America.
Overall, I was impressed with Washington, DC. I can sometimes get depressed when thinking of the legislation that comes from there, but I can attest that the odes and honors all over the city and especially the national mall speak to freedom and deity. Apparently, the legislators have not yet taken the time to redecorate the city. I was also moved to see how many foreigners were there as tourists. When we wanted a picture taken of Nick and I together, it was often quite a trick to find Americans, or at least English speakers. This told me that the world still looks to us for our history of democracy and freedom. I came home encouraged. And eager to vote.