Thursday, August 30, 2007

Day Eighteen

It is really cool that this is something we can look back on months from now and remember our adventures. I hope others are enjoying the vicarious voyage!

We spent our first day in DC doing the 'memorial walk'.

We visited the Washington, World War II, Lincoln, Vietnam, Korea, Jefferson, and Franklin Roosevelt memorials.

The Washington Memorial is impressive, at the same time, it is an obelisk. Also, he was a slave owner. So, I'm not exactly falling over myself to pay homage to the "father of our country". What about the dudes who led for centuries before Washington was here?

The WWII memorial. This picture speaks volumes. Our country played a huge role in liberating people. We owe a debt of gratitude to the average American soldier who paid the price for this end. I love the America that comes to mind when these words are applicable: "to end tyranny... Americans..."

Respect and honor to the men who stormed the beaches of Europe during the war.

This portion of the WWII monument is compelling, each star represents 1,000 Americans who paid the ultimate sacrifice. The inscription says, "Here we mark the price of freedom".

Andrew walking toward the most significant staircase in our nation's history.

What a design consideration with this sculpture of 3 soldiers looking on toward the wall at the Vietnam Memorial.

The wall is inscribed with names of the more than 70,000 men who paid the ultimate price to fight communism on Vietnamese soil.

The Lincoln Memorial is less than 100 yards from the Vietnam Memorial.

The greatest ever?

The Korean War Memorial.

This wall at the Korean War Memorial reads, "Freedom is not free". I am sobered by what that means or has meant for our armed forces.

At the FDR Memorial, "This generation of Americans has a rendezvous with destiny". It was true for the people of FDR's time, what about today? What are we about today?

I appreciate FDR for these words, "I have seen war. I have seen war on land and sea. I have seen blood running from the wounded. I have seen the dead in the mud. I have seen cities destroyed...I have seen children starving. I have seen the agony of mothers and wives. I hate war." Is there anyone who wants to see war continue?

This wall says, "They who seek to establish systems of government based on the regimentation of all human beings by a handful of this a new order. It is not new and it is not order." Word!

Thomas Jefferson.

The memorial building for him.

Andrew snapped a shot of his parents inside the top of the Washington Monument.

Oh yeah, we visited this place too! I hope they were making wise decisions in there!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Day Seventeen

Arrival in Washington, D.C.

We arrived fairly early in the afternoon, and could not check in to our hotel, so we went on a little excursion to the Iwo Jima Memorial, and Arlington National Cemetary.

The Iwo Jima Memorial.
A great view of the Lincoln and Washington monuments.

The final resting place of president Kennedy.

Andrew standing next to JFK's famous "ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country".

The president's brother and attorney general, Robert F. Kennedy.

His profound words following the MLK assassination.

Memorial for the Challenger crew.

Memorial for the special forces team who attempted to liberate the hostages in Iran.

Memorial for the Columbia crew.

The tomb of the unknown soldier. Here we also watched the changing of the guard ceremony.

We covered a lot of ground, and the kids were tired, so I carried both of them for a while.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Day Sixteen


It was a quick, half-day visit, but we saw a lot.

The Liberty Bell.

The resting place of Benjamin Franklin.

Independance Hall.

A painting of the meeting discussing and signing the Declaration of Independence.

The actual room it took place in.

And after all of that fun and excitement for the kids, there was a rainstorm just after we checked into our hotel. The parking lot was pretty well flooded, and they cut loose.

Lots of history and lots of fun!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Day Fifteen

On day thirteen, we drove from Chicago to Shelby, OH. Not much there, just a campground. This was an intermediate stop from point a to point b, and was only expected to be a place to stay the night. It was exactly that, and really not at all noteworthy except for what happened a few days after we left. They had record flooding as this article details. We are very thankful to have missed that!

On day fourteen, we drove from Shelby to Gettysburg, PA. We were planning to have a 'day off' there and not do anything special.

This critter will probably be the most memorable photo subject from Gettysburg for the kids.

I had hoped to convince the family to do the 'auto tour' of Gettysburg on day fifteen, but the kids were not at all interested in seeing a battlefield when the alternative was a pool. So, Brenda encouraged me to go on my own and to take my time. There are many places in this country that could be listed among the most important. I think that Gettysburg ranks at least top five. That of course is my opinion, but I have not been so emotionally moved by a place since I visited Ellis Island years ago. If you are not up on your US or Civil War history, here is a primer for Gettysburg.

It is sobering to think about the ultimate sacrifice that approximately 51,000 men gave on this land.

I'm not sure what you all will think, but when I stood at the place where this cannon fired the first shot of the battle, and as I looked out over the surrounding fields, I teared up. What an amazing price all those men paid for human freedom and for our nation's union.

I wish I could believe that today's leaders intended to lead as Abraham Lincoln did.

I got to see a cannon fired in Civil War fashion. Loud!!!

Did angels come and herald each of the heroes sacrifice on those days?

What does our flag stand for today? Are we still willing to sacrifice for America so she can be what our forefathers intended her to be?

What a phenomenal feeling to stand on the ground where America's greatest president (my opinion, like it or leave it) spoke his most famous words. Take a minute and read the text of the Gettysburg Address.

The Soldiers' National Monument.

It was a deeply meaningful day, and I'm glad that I got to experience it in a way that lended to the introspective.

And I was glad to come back to the family.