We knew that rain was in the forecast for the day and evening, so we planned on sticking nearby. Then about an hour before our training ended, there were warnings issued for thunderstorm and tornado. Being from the center of the country, those are pretty commonplace for us, so we didn't worry. We knew that the hotel would come to us with instructions if we were in any danger. However, the ladies at the table behind us were a little freaked out. I felt bad for them. To be so afraid of something that it hinders your ability to do anything else is so terrible. Luckily we were in no danger, and while some mild storm damage was reported through the city, there were no injuries in the area.
We waited for a lull in the rain and walked across the street to a little Chinese place called Mr. Chen's. It was so yummy. Everything was delicious, the service was fabulous, and our waiter wouldn't let us start our meal without chopsticks. When I was a teenager we were regular visitors to a Chinese restaurant after church, so I got fairly adept at eating with chopsticks. One of my travel buddies had never used them, so it was fun to see her try it out. She did fine with the meat, but trying to eat the rice just ticked her off. I was the only one of the three of us that finished her meal with chopsticks. My absolute favorite part was the bill. Our orders were written in Chinese! I loved that little touch. Silly, maybe, but I took a picture to show my kids. They got a kick out of that.
We flew out Wednesday afternoon, and scheduled it that way so we could have extra sight seeing time. We woke up a little late, then when we got to the Metro, one of the tracks was having issues and they were running behind, which coupled with the fact that it was still rush hour, meant we waited an hour for a train. We considered taking the bus, but by the time we were that irritated, the tracks were cleared and things started going a little quicker. We rode to Metro Center and walked to see the White House. We chose to go to the back side, since the people at the gate said the crowd is a little thinner there and we were pressed for time.
Me in front of (in back of?) the White House. It's much smaller than I imagined!
The Jefferson Memorial from across the Tidal Basin. I loved this one. There is a museum type area in the bottom floor with lots of quotes and information. I really loved those, but none of the pics were very good :(
The FDR Memorial. Was. Awesome. So many quotes that made me smile, think, or even sad. It's a huge memorial, and every step took me to a new thought. I took pictures of all of them, but this one is my favorite.
My friend Connie and me with FDR's dog Fala.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. The quote on the side of the front section says, "Out of a mountain of despair, a stone of hope."
My favorite quote from the MLK Memorial.
A very helpful hand rail in front of the USDA building. I think I would fall down rather than grab this thing. Ouch!
I'm from a rural area, so you know we noticed someone fishing in the Tidal Basin! We were impressed by this fisherman's catch, and asked permission before snapping a picture.
I didn't include a picture of the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial. I have several, but all the pictures include names, and even though those names are publicly displayed, it just felt too personal. We visited the wall on Monday in the twilight. While looking at the wall I thought of my father. I thought of his reaction when we visited the traveling wall that came near our town when I was a child. I thought of how things would have been different had his name been etched in it (my sisters and I wouldn't be here!) I tried to imagine what life was like for my father and the other men that were involved, when a couple walked by me. I wasn't eavesdropping on purpose, but it was hard to ignore what was said.
Woman: "Honey, we can find it. I can go look."
Man, shaking his head and looking above the wall, out into space: "No. I don't want to."
I wanted to grab this man and hug him, just like I wanted to hug my father at that moment. At that point I needed to be done, and moved to the end of the walk to wait for my friends.
We were on our way back to the Metro station after sight seeing on Wednesday and we were stopped by a group of men and women boarding tour buses. As we got closer we realized that these were WWII veterans and their families in DC to see the WWII memorial. I was so touched seeing these men. I stood in tears as they stood out of their wheelchairs and boarded the buses after seeing the place that was built to honor them, waiting many years to do so. These two moments were the most moving of my trip, and I will be forever thankful for them. Sirs, wherever you are, and all other veteran men and women, including my father and the gentleman at the Wall on Monday, thank you for what you have done, what you do, and what you stand for.