Monday, September 7, 2009

DC Sightseeing

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday weekend with your family and friends.

I did.

We had friends come down to visit from NY, so we did the DC sightseeing thing.

We started off with a picnic at the Iwo Jima Memorial. The last time we had a picnic together was at the top of Makapu'u Ridge in July 2008 (blog post and pictures here).

In the past, our usual sight-seeing routine has been to take the Metro in to the Smithsonian station, then walk down the mall to the Lincoln Memorial and back. Unfortunately, that route does a good amount of back-tracking and recovering the same ground you walked to get to the Lincoln Memorial.

This time, we tried something different, and I think I'm going to make it my new standard sight-seeing route. We parked at the Arlington National Cemetery Parking lot (which ended up costing us $15 for the day). This afforded us the opportunity to use the very nice, clean restroom facilities at the visitor's center after our long drive in from Ashburn. As we walked from the parking lot toward the metro (our original intent had been to ride the metro to Smithsonian), I looked at the Lincoln Memorial just across the Memorial Bridge in front of us, and I said to myself, "Self, that sure looks close by. I wonder how long it is to walk directly there across the Memorial Bridge?"

So I consulted my handy-dandy GPS.

Survey says: 0.8 miles from the parking lot to the Lincoln Memorial, or 1.1 miles from the Smithsonian Metro back to the Lincoln Memorial.

[Brakes Screeching Sound Effect] [Lightbulb goes off over head]

Change of plans.

So we walked directly across the Memorial Bridge to the Lincoln Memorial and continued eastbound from there along the reflecting pool, the WWII Memorial, the White House, the Washington Monument, over to the National Air and Space Museum.

YB on my shoulders as we cross the Memorial Bridge.

ES and I had recently been talking about "with malice toward none, with charity toward all," so it was neat to stand in the memorial and read Lincoln's second inaugural address together.

Tangent: Respect Part I. As we walked up the steps into the Lincoln Memorial, my friend E very appropriately told the boys to all take off their hats. No, not required, but certainly a good idea. I was a few steps behind them because I had stopped to take a photo. As I walked up the steps, I overheard an older lady nearby gasp in surprise and I heard her whisper to her friend, "Did you see what that man did? He told all his boys to take their hats off. Now THERE'S a man who's teaching his kids RESPECT and MANNERS." I couldn't agree with her more - good job, E! (Or "Bee-Zee" as we say in the Navy. Bravo Zulu is the signal flag code for "Well Done.") End of Tangent.

Believe it or not, for a fleeting moment, the idea had crossed my mind, but the adult in me said "no" right about the same time I read the sign.

It was a gorgeous day out.

The boys checking out the geese, and
YB cools off by lifting his shirt up.

Self portrait in the WWII Memorial.

Tangent: Respect Part II. While we were at the WWII Memorial, I was surprised to see some USNA plebes out there in their whites. I didn't think they were allowed out on liberty this early, but what do I know?
     The mids got suddenly visibly annoyed and staring off in one direction together. I followed their gaze and noticed a couple of morons wading through the WWII Memorial reflecting pool and splashing around in the fountains. They were grown adults, both men in their late 20s or early 30s. One of the mids yelled in a deep voice "get out of the pool!" The morons didn't seem to notice, and the mids decided to let it ride and walk away.
     There are several small wooden signs around the pool that say, "Please respect this memorial, do not wade in the pool." So I walked to the edge of the pool, picked up one of the wooden signs, yelled, "EXCUSE ME!" to the morons and pointed at the sign. They looked at me with half sheepish-guilt because they knew what they were doing was wrong and half annoyance like who does that guy think HE is. They stopped splashing and waded back to the edge of the pool. Several people around the memorial thanked me and gave me thumbs-up signs afterward, so I'm glad to know I wasn't the only one annoyed by the disrespectful morons wading in the pool.
     My thanks to the mids who pointed out the morons and had the courage to confront them - your hearts were in the right spot. End of Tangent.

YB hanging out at the WWII Memorial
with the Washington Monument in the background.

I won't inundate you with photos of the rest of our walk past the White House and over to the Air and Space Museum. We ended up logging 6.2 miles of walking on my GPS receiver and were pretty exhausted by the time we got on the metro to ride back to Arlington.

Sunday we went to church and had an AWESOME dinner at home with Caprese salad (tomato and mozzarella slices with basil and balsamic vinaigrette), steak and asparagus on the barbecue grill, and corn on the cob.

Monday morning after our friends left to head home, I headed out for a 13-mile bike ride on the Chesapeake & Ohio ("C&O") Canal trail, but I'm going to write a separate blog post about that one.

1 comment:

Dani said...

Actually it's not that unusual to see plebes out during Labor Day weekend. They start having liberty on the weekends after Parent's Day weekend (which is usually the second weekend in August) which signifies the end of plebe summer.

Sounds like you had a great time in DC ... it's been awhile since we've done the sightseeing there.