Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Monuments, Memorials and more

Arlington Cemetery

It may sound odd, but Arlington Cemetery is one of my favorite places in DC.  This is my third time there and every time I'm overcome by the sense of reverence and respect.  It is such a powerful and peaceful place.  Seeing those white headstones covering the rolling hills for as far as you can see (275,000 graves, 612 acers and growing, thanks google) is such a solemn reminder of all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for our sake.  I'm so glad the kids were able to experience this, it really opened their eyes and I hope they left with a greater sense of appreciation.  It is beautiful (if you can call a cemetery beautiful) the way they have been so precise in the layout, the headstones make a perfectly straight line in every direction. 

 The changing of the guards at the tomb of the unknown soldiers.  It is amazing how there is always a guard on duty 24/7 rain, snow or heat and they consider it such an honor to do it.

 The gravesite of John F. Kennedy, Jackie O. and their children, with the eternal flame that never stops burning

Lincoln Memorial

In third grade they do an extensive unit on the US symbols and Jayden recently learned about the monuments leading up to President's day, so it was so cool to see them spilling over with excitement to see them up close and in person.  They kept spouting out facts like the symbolism of the way Lincoln is holding his hands (the fist means strength and determination, the open hand means compassion), or the reason why the Washington Monument has two different colors of stones (it sat unfinished for about 30 years due to the war and lack of funds and when they finished it they couldn't find a match) and even that the red room of the white house is haunted by Lincoln's ghost.  Of course I had to act like I knew exactly what they were talking about, even though once again they schooled me.


 leaving her mark yet again...
 messing around while we waited for Jason to park the car
 yeah, we did one of THOSE pictures....we couldn't resist.

Vietnman Memorial

Once again each of those 58,267 names represents the cost of war.  The kids were shocked by the sheer number of names and couldn't believe this was the result of only one war.  Frankly, it's hard for me to believe too.

 This is the World War II memorial and we were cracking up at the sign since the last time we were here I was about to strip down and take a full on swim in the water.  In my defense I was 7 months pregnant and my ankles were swollen from the June heat and humidity and we were crazy enough to walk all the way from Arlington cemetery to the Mall because we thought it really wasn't that far.  So there you go, no disrespect intended.

Washington Monument

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue

The White House was our last stop before we said goodbye to DC and hello to New York and it was the perfect Grand Finale.  It would have been even better if we could have toured it, but see this is the problem:  Jason is always in charge of the travel side of our trips (plane tickets, hotels, rental car, etc.) and I'm in charge of planning the agenda.  Jason always goes above and beyond with his assignment, but for me I prefer to have no agenda, ya know, just go where the wind blows us.  But if I would have bothered to do more research I would have found out that tour tickets need to be reserved atleast 21 days in advance, we also could have toured the US Capitol and Bureau of Engraving and Printing and watched them make the money.  I think next time I'll resign and let Jason do all the planning, he's much better than me :).  We had an awesome time in DC.  Jayden said it best when he decided that he no longer needed to go to school because he learned way more on this trip then he ever did in Kindergarten.  Amen.


Jodee said...

I am loving these re-caps of your trip. DC is such a great place and your kids are at great ages to enjoy it. The guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier amaze me. I loved watching them reverently pace back and fourth and learn how they are there day, night, rain, snow, 24/7. That place is amazing. Again, great shots, I can't wait to read all about NY!!!

Janessa said...

What a fantastic field trip! I loved Jayden's comment at the end. Who needs kindergarten anyway? You got so many fabulous pictures. I think I'm going to bring you along as our photographer for our next family vacation. I love Kylie's cartwheels everywhere you went. What a fun way to leave your mark!

Tyler and Margaret said...

Oh, this post was so touching to me. I cried the whole way through! I loved reading about the memorials. My uncle Don's name is on the Vietnam Memorial. I never got to meet him because his name is there. I have always heard he was handsome, charming, and way too young to die in battle at the age of 21. I am also so thankful to all the many men and women who have fought and died for our freedom. The pictures of Kylie by the memorial are so sweet, they just made me cry. Thanks for the post! I think this was an awsome trip for your kids and is at the top of my list of family vacations!

Chelsea said...

oh man! fun and educational, I'm really feeling the guilt now! someday children, someday. And when we do, I'll be using you as a guide, you say that you like to have no agenda, but you are always SO on top of fitting everything in. I'm impressed that they actually listen to all those facts in school, its surprising what sticks!

Chelsea said...

I'm also loving these relevant throw back pictures. Extra credit in blogging for sure!

Nichols Family said...

So exciting to see all of the amazing places you visited! I can't wait to tour these places someday. :) I think my kids would LOVE the ape people...ha ha!

Bunch of Brooks' said...

You're making me want to do this with our family:) Mark and I did this same trip back with two kids, but now that they're older I think it would be more interesting for them. You are amazing at taking pictures and documenting in such detail Jamie! Glad you guys had such a fabulous trip:)

Pays said...

One of my most favorite places to visit ever!! My sister lives there...lucky girl! One day when our kids are a bit older we will make this trip together. Love the pictures!