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Friday, April 28, 2017

A Trip Worth Taking

I'll admit I didn't want to go. When I planned this trip to North Carolina to visit a friend with my mom back in September, I planned a side trip to Washington DC. My mom really wanted to see the nation's capital and I thought what a great time to go to DC with my mom when there was a woman president!

Then November happened and darkness descended on the earth...

My mom was firm though (even when I dangled the New York carrot instead); she wanted to see the nation's capital regardless, so we went and I'm glad we did!

Washington DC felt a lot like Portland, OR in that it's a city of neighborhoods. The neighborhood we stayed in was called Bloomingdale. I found this wonderful airbnb which was within walking distance of restaurants, pubs, a bar, and a yoga studio, all of which I visited! A quick Uber ride and we were at the National Mall.

It was inspiring to actually see all the monuments that I've viewed on TV or in books, it was even better to see the less publicized ones.

The FDR Memorial was fabulous! It was hard to not be deeply moved by it.

The monument was comprised of outdoor rooms that covered all four terms of Roosevelt's presidency as it moved through the Great Depression and World War II.

Each room had a man made waterfall symbolizing the times. A large drop of water depicted the Great Depression and a serene expanse of water symbolized Roosevelt's death.

Along the concrete walls of the rooms were quotes from Roosevelt. These were especially hard to read with a dry eye as they are in such stark contrast to what we hear from our nation's leader today.

The Korean War Memorial, however, was my favorite. Again, it was hard not to be moved by it. As you walked through the memorial you had the feeling you were there, in battle, with those soldiers.

Nineteen stainless steel larger than life statues showed a platoon on patrol. You could feel how young, scared and cold they were as they navigated through the land, rifles in hand.

Additionally, to pay homage to America's Forgotten War, a nearby plaque is inscribed with: "Our nation honors her sons and daughters who answered the call to defend a country they never knew and a people they never met." 

After our visit down the National Mall, we sprang for tickets on one of those Hop On/Hop Off buses and went for a ride around the city to see the other great public artwork, neighborhoods, and even the zoo.

On our third day in DC we were lucky enough to get into the new African American Smithsonian Museum. With out getting advanced tickets, it's virtually impossible to get in. Nevertheless, we showed up right when they opened and a tour group had extra tickets and gave us three!

A person could spend multiple days in the museum and still not see and read everything. You start with an elevator ride down three floors, depicting the movement back in time to slave days.

Each level up from there and to the ground floor, takes you through the civil rights movements and finally the Obama Presidency.

Additionally, there are two upper level floors that exhibit African American contributions to art, entertainment, and sports.

Aside from our bus tour, food and Uber trips, we spent very little money as the monuments and the museums were all free!

We stayed three nights and four days in DC. We went by Amtrak train from and to Durham NC so two of our days were travel days. Two days in Washington DC is not enough time to see everything, but it was enough time for me to know I want to return.

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