In November, we traveled to Pennsylvania to attend some training for our ministry work. On the way home, we took some vacation time in our nation’s capital. It had been about seventeen years since my husband and I had visited, and our children had never been there. The weekend was chilly but fair. We arrived on the afternoon of November 11 and spent quite a bit of time driving around looking for parking. Once we finally found a parking spot, we began walking toward the Lincoln Memorial. There were quite a few people milling around the memorial.
From the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, we had a beautiful view of the Mall with the Washington Monument in the background. While the monument looks close, the perspective is deceiving. That afternoon, we figure we walked over five miles from our parking spot, around several of the memorials, to the Washington Monument, then toured the Air and Space Museum, and back to our vehicle.
On our journey, we stopped at the Washington Monument which is difficult to photograph because of its towering height. A point of interest is the varying shades of the stone which is due to the start and stop of construction and to rock coming from two different quarries.
Eventually, we wound up at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. My husband and I noticed that since our last time in Washington, the security is greatly increased. To get into any of the museums, you must empty all your pockets, put any belongings on the belt, and go through a scanner. Before we entered the building, our oldest noticed that there was a sign stating items that were forbidden including knives. Being a country boy, he had his knife attached to his belt. My husband decided they should hide the knife in a flower bed. Of course, going through security, he managed to set off the alarm. We were not sure if it was his cowboy belt buckle or his cowboy hat. By Monday, I suggested he leave all his “paraphernalia” at the motel, and he sailed smoothly through security that day.
Sunday afternoon, we wondered around the outside of the White House and toured the Visitor’s Center. When we first walked up to the grounds, I was surprised how small the President’s home is. On pictures the White House looks so grand; but compared to the other massive buildings of the city, it is quite modest in size. Right away, we noticed there were quite a few security people around; and there were guards on the roof as well. Later that day, when we were leaving the city, we saw the President’s plane flying overhead. Later, we found out it was Mrs. Trump returning from her travels. Another interesting experience was finding ourselves in the middle of a gathering and being offered a program: the purpose was Muslims protesting Isis.
After fighting traffic and searching for a parking spot Saturday and Sunday, my husband decided we would ride the Metro into the city on Monday. That was a new experience for all of us, from figuring out the ticket machine, to choosing which train to enter, and learning where and when to exit. It was interesting to people-watch and imagine what each person’s role in life was.
After a delay where the Metro sat for a few minutes, we arrived just in time for our appointment to tour the Capitol Building. We met our Representative’s assistant and were able to see his view of the Capitol from his office window.
Our tour guide was quite knowledgeable of the history of the Capital Building. She guided us capably through several layers of security. The Rotunda was especially breathtaking.
After our tour, we wondered around outside the Capital and enjoyed our picnic lunch.
In the afternoon, we toured the Smithsonian Natural History and American History Museums. In the Natural History Museum, we saw a variety of animals, rocks, and gems. I think we all enjoyed the American History Museum the most. We had a fascinating tour guide that summarized United States’ history in one hour. There was something of interest for everyone including vehicles, the First Ladies’ ball gowns and china, and historical items such as Lincoln’s top hat.
Our Washington D.C. trip was interesting and enjoyable, but the best part was experiencing it together as a family.