April 15th day 60
My little sis was finishing up her student teaching in history this semester in Washington D.C., so it was the perfect opportunity for a girl's trip with mom, sisters, and sister in-law Kelsie. We missed you Meg! Ang actually didn't know that I was coming because I was didn't commit for a long time, but I showed up at the train station and hid while she was hugging everyone, and then she felt a pinch on the butt and didn't even need to turn around to see who it was. I don't think it was as secretive as we all thought. Everyone overemphasized that I wasn't going to be able to come, so Angie caught on. It was still fun to surprise her.
No you didn't. Oh yes, we did. Because there is not enough to see in our nation's capital, we had to start off our trip at Georgetown Cupcakes. This is the cupcake joint from DC Cupcakes on TLC. Now, truth be told I have never watched this show. But the fact that we started off our trip by going to a reality show headquarters is a little, well, shameful. This speaks of the lengths that we will go for a good bite. Yummy...yes. Worth a metro ride, a two mile walk, and standing in line for 45 minutes? Jury's still out on that one...
You see that building there, behind the chain, and the two iron gates, and the armed guards? Yes my friends, that is the home of our dear President Obama.
I am that girl who when you mention the national mall, thinks "hmmm, I wonder if they have a Nordstrom's at the national mall." Really, I didn't know what the national mall was. If any of you are as lame as I, and I assume you are not, but just in case, I will give you a crude explanation. The national mall is a plethora of monuments, memorials, museums, legislative buildings, etc., all conveniently lined up in a huge oblong shape with the Washington Monument right in the middle.
The Vietnam Veteran's Memorial
The Lincoln Memorial
Arlington National Cemetery was particularly moving for me. There has never been a time in my life when I have been more acutely aware of the sacrifice that has been made to protect our lives and our liberties, then walking through this cemetery. I am always grateful, but in general overly sentimental emails on the fourth of July, or sappy country music songs about soldiers are usually lost on me. It took this very time and place in my life to put this into perspective. It took throngs...hundreds and hundreds of headstones, and it took walking through rows and rows of them for what felt like miles, to move me to the core. Because, for each of these headstones there was a very brave soldier, but there was also a brave mother. Someone courageous. Someone selfless.
I asked Nate a few weeks back what he would say if one of our boys came to him with news that he wanted to join the military. Nate said "I would tell him that he just made me as proud as I could ever be." That brought tears to my eyes, and still brings tears to my eyes. Maybe because I was proud of Nate. But, mostly because my response to that same question was nothing like that. Mine was more like H to the E to the L-L no. Sorry. I can't imagine losing a child. But, I really can't imagine allowing my child be put in harm's way. I can't imagine having that message delivered to my door. I can't imagine walking this cemetery and knowing that my loss was one hundreds of thousands. I am eternally grateful to the mothers of the world that have had to walk that walk. I hope to never know what that feels like.
I wasn't prepared to be as touched as I was. In fact, Arlington was not even on my list, but it was a highlight of my weekend. This is a special, special place.
The changing of the guards at The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier
JFK Memorial and The Eternal Flame