Monday, August 22, 2016

Our Own Backyard Fun

We live so close to so many great historical places.  But we don't often get there as I am not up for traveling to DC alone.

Enter my Superman husband.  I am so lucky to have him!

We hopped on the VRE (Virginia Railway Express that my husband takes to work every day) and rode into DC.  James was so excited to ride on the train!

This day was full of firsts for me and the kids.  First up was the Tidal Basin.  I had never walked all the way around and enjoyed the views, or see all the memorials that are there.

It's a beautiful walk, next to the water, with some lovely trees.  I was kind of irritated by the "warning: low growing branches" sign.  Like, really?  We have to have a warning for everything?  But as we walked, I saw that the beautiful cherry blossoms grow at an angle, over the water.  The view is just lovely!

I just might be convinced to come back when they are all in bloom!  Just maybe. 

Around the basin are 3 memorials (I think only 3).  First up is the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. My cell phone camera cannot come close to catching the size and awesomeness of this!  In the background, on walls on either side, are many of his famous quotes.

He was such a powerful speaker.  It was a very somber place, big enough to let the kids wander and expend energy, but it kept a reverent attitude. 

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial is the next marker on that walk by the basin, another first for me!

My history is quite rusty, as I didn't realize he was president for so long.  His quotes are practical, and came from a time in history that was a different kind of struggle than MLK Jr.

It's quite a large memorial (with bathrooms at each end of it.  Perhaps it's because they have waterfalls all throughout it.  Rushing water is calming but does give you a certain urgency.) and the kids all loved the noise.  Lucy's exclamations of "WATER!" could almost be heard above the noise.

Our final memorial was Jefferson's. 

This view was from the other side of the Tidal Basin.  It's so lovely across the water.

Now, when we are here reading his words, I am always overcome by his eloquence. I love his quotes, and to see just the contrast of Jefferson to FDR, and many other presidents.  It did make me do a little pause about the upcoming election, and how much I am NOT a fan of either (nope, not getting political) but I have faith that God will always triumph. 

We had lunch on the steps of the Jefferson Memorial, as that was the closest place with shade. 

 Our friends included us in a tour of the Bureau of Engraving (the place where the paper money is made).  We learned some pretty neat tidbits:
 * The $100 is the largest bill now made, but there used to be $100,000 bill!
* The ink goes on the back of the money first, and the green color is always first.  Hence the name "green backs."
 * Bills are made of Cotton and Linen. 
* The machines run all the time.  24 hours a day.
* Tommy is $300,000 taller than me.  :)

Next first: The Washington Monument!  All the way to the top!

I loved the beautiful walls and floor as we waited for the elevator.  I didn't expect such prettiness inside, as the monument never looks that special to me.  It's always there, and never seems fancy to me.

Such incredible views from the top of the building!!  The fact that we were over 500 feet in the air didn't bother me, until I looked at the big bolts in the structure, and saw the red lights that flash through the windows at the top.  There is a observation place with all the windows, then you go down a few steps and they have an exhibit about the monument.  It listed all the places that sent a stone to help build it, and when you went down the elevator, the lights inside went off, and they slowed it down so we could look out the windows of the elevator to see some of the plaques that were sent with the stones. 
I can't even imagine tackling this kind of a day on my own.  EVER.  5 kids in tow, super hot day, and no map.  No way.  My husband is the navigator, the planner (albeit spontaneously) and the doer.  This was a great reminder of why God has given me such a spouse! 

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