The last year has been tough; probably tougher on my mother than any of the rest of us. So when I knew I was going to visit Washington, I invited her to join me. She'd never traveled east of Chicago, and she had talked about wanting to see our nation's capital.
As luck would have it, my sister was able to go with us. And here we are, our first day in Washington, getting ready to leave our hotel and explore the city. If you can't guess, that's Mom on the right, and my sister Jeri on the left in the picture below.
My mom was pretty cool the whole time we were there. We went all over the city, took the Metro to lots of places, and walked miles and miles. There were times we moved a little slower, or stopped more often, but it was worth every pause and every stop.
What did we see? First, we arranged a two-day pass on the Old Town Trolley, a great way to get an overview of the city.
We started by taking Metro from our hotel is Bethesda (the site of Malice Domestic), to downtown Washington. That first day we hadn't figured out the elevator system on Metro, and we took the scariest escalator I have ever seen. The ride went on forever, and Jeri said she wondered if some guy in red was going to show up with a pitchfork at the bottom.
Metro took us into downtown, where we walked a few blocks and found the Trolley station. We hopped on their Green Line (apparently color-coding is big in DC) and saw the northern loop, through Georgetown, past Embassy Row, past the National Zoo, and the National Cathedral, under Dupont Circle, and back to our starting point.
We grabbed a quick lunch and then got on the Orange Line to continue our tour. We rode as far as the Lincoln Memorial stop and transferred to the Red Line for the trip out to Arlington National Cemetery. The picture on the right is a tiny portion of the headstones that commemorate our veterans and their families. The dates span centuries, representing the sacrifice of members of all branches of the armed services.
For those of us of "a certain age," November 22, 1963, is engraved in our memories. We can tell you, in exacting detail, where we were and what we were doing at the moment we heard our President had been shot, and where and how we learned he had died of his wounds. The image of his widow in a blood-spattered pink suit will never leave us, nor will the picture of his young son saluting the coffin of his fallen father. For us, the Eternal Flame burning at the President's grave is a symbol of our lost innocence.
There are other graves at Arlington, too. Supreme Court justices, conservative and liberal alike, rest together for eternity, along with lawmakers, explorers, statesmen, and more.
We returned from our somber journey to the most iconic of Washington monuments: the Lincoln Memorial, and the rest of the Mall. I have more pictures and more to say, but that's for another post.
|Mother and Jeri in front of the Oregon column|
|Thank you, Greatest Generation|
It is, indeed, a beautiful city!