Destination 11: Washington, D.C. [Part II]


Wednesday morning, we woke up around 9, sluggishly made our way downstairs for breakfast and finally left the hotel to start our day around 11 a.m. Even though our hotel is in Maryland, they offer a free shuttle service to the metro stop every 15 minutes. It does, however, take a while from the metro stop because it's about 30-40 minutes away from the downtown D.C. area.

Anyway, the weather was unbelievably more beautiful than yesterday. It was even a little chilly in the morning! A slight breeze caused the weather to drop about 5 degrees, which was perfect for our day of walking....tons of it.

We began at the White House, then proceeded to the Washington Memorial, WWII Memorial, Vietnam Memorial, Lincoln Memorial and the Korean War Memorial. I'd say we walked a total of about 5 or so miles but the kids were such good sports! They soaked everything up and enjoyed all of the knowledgeable stories Dad told right before we entered into each memorial site. They asked questions, paid their respects and happily skipped onto the next stop.

[Mom and Dad in front of the White House]

[And then, there's Robert...]

[A picture where we're all smiling is a success in and of itself!]

[In front of the Mall]

[Dad and Daniel]

[At the WWII Memorial]

[Dad briefing the kids on what the Vietnam War meant for our country]

[A child's note thanking all the veterans who fought in Vietnam]

[Good 'ol Honest Abe]

They purchased these passports that have all of the national parks and monuments listed in the country. At each place, the passport holder collects a stamp of the national park/monument and the date they visited. As you can imagine, there are tons in the D.C. area, so the kids had a lot of fun seeing their stamp collection build up rapidly.

Around 4:30 or 5 p.m., we jumped back onto the metro towards Arlington Cemetery, where we took a shuttle tour throughout the cemetery. We saw JFK's eternal flame, Robert E. Lee's house and the changing of the guards for the unknown soldier.

[Robert E. Lee's mansion @ Arlington]

[The changing of the guards in front of the tomb of the unknown soldier]

Although it was my second time there, the effect that Arlington had on me was still the same: it's so powerful to see the grave sites of all those who have served. There's no way for us as individuals to grasp how many have sacrificed their lives for the safety of our country, but when you pass the hundreds of thousands of tombstones, placed neatly in rows upon rows, you get a true glimpse of just how many did so. And it's a truly amazing thing.

I think that if everyone had a chance to visit Arlington Cemetery, there would be less discussion about soldiers dying in vain and unimportant wars, and more honoring of those who simply sacrifice their lives to protect and serve our country.

With that said, happy birthday America! I hope everyone has a fun-filled and safe 4th of July!!!

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