The D.C. monuments

Vacation 2016 06_ The D.C. monuments

Washington turned out to be our most interesting and reflective visit. I did not anticipate this. We had our eye on NYC for many reasons and were not let down at all by NYC but D.C. was more interesting. We settled into an Extended Stay in Fairfax, which was about thirty minutes from The Washington Monument (the center of the tourist area).

We stayed at several Extended Stay facilities or Hawthrone Suites, which were less expensive than hotels. It also allowed us to buy and prepare our own food because of the in-room kitchen accommodations. There were few occasions where we ate out. This was intentional due to the cost of eating out. One of the rare exceptions was Lombardi’s Pizza in Little Italy in NYC. Lombardi’s is the oldest pizza place in the country. We had to do that.

We brought bins of food, Chex-mix, and powders for water and so forth. Lucia had ordered several boxes of Lenny and Larry’s protein cookies. I think I was chocolate-chipped-out by the end of the trip. We had a lot of Lenny and Larry. They are good and filling and a great travel idea.

After a grocery store visit, settling in, getting my make-shift studio up and running, we were set for the next four days.

On Sunday we surveyed the scene by visiting the White House (in front of it for a pic), the Lincoln Memorial, and the Washington Monument. This was a great opportunity to teach the kids a few things about America History. They got to stand on the cemented footprints of MLK at the Lincoln Memorial.

I took them down to the Vietnam Memorial, which is off to the right of the Lincoln Memorial if you’re facing Lincoln. One of the cool things about the tourist district is you can walk to so much of it. We found an off-the-beaten-path all-day parking place that was $15 per day. We parked there three times.

There was a lady doing a Periscope Live event at the Vietnam Memorial where she was explaining it to folks who “follow” her. I talked to her for a while, trying to learn what she was doing. She is in the airline business, which allows her to travel all over America. When she is in a town, she will visit a place and let others peek in through her Periscope app. I really liked that idea, so I started doing it with Facebook Live.

The Vietnam Memorial was as sobering this time as it was twenty-four years ago when I first saw it. It is hard to take in. I visited it twice on this trip. The second time we stopped by after dark. We brought a watermelon and sat on the grass, without a knife, tearing into the melon. That was different but good. And, BTW, Haydn did an amazing job carrying that big melon from the van to the park area near the memorial.

I went down to the “Vietnam” wall and sat, staring at the names. I just wanted to take it in. I wanted to enter into the narrative as much as one can. I was only a child during this time in our history. That kind of sacrifice, which is at the heart of the Christian religion is a powerful display that is full of meaning, which is hard to articulate.

My family knew something was going on inside me so they did not interrupt. I was glad for that. I really did not want to talk. I just wanted to think about what I was looking at and talk to the LORD. That was the night we went to the Korean Was Memorial, which is on the opposite side of the Lincoln Memorial.

While we were sitting at the Lincoln Memorial waiting for the girls to find a restroom, I was telling Haydn that they have seen some of the most famous architectural designs in our country. Not knowing what the most popular ones are, I Googled it and we noticed that we had seen eight out of the top ten, and one of the remaining two was the St. Pete/Paul Cathedral in D.C.

We saw that one that night. The last remaining one is the Chrysler Building in Chicago. Maybe we’ll see it someday.

The Korean War Memorial is where I met the fellow who was talking about all the rude young people. That memorial was interesting, though there was hardly anyone at it. I’m not sure why. Maybe it was too late in the evening. Maybe it’s even more distant in our minds than the other wars.

(BTW, the restrooms underneath the Lincoln Memorial stunk to high heaven. I wrapped my face with a yowie to keep from gagging. The marble (or whatever they were made of) floors were sopping wet. I was not sure what kind of water it was. And the air was thicker than thick. Lucia and the girls decided a porta potty would be better, which is saying a lot. They rarely use those things.)

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