Recently I told you a little bit about our vacation to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, where we enjoyed nature’s calming influences along with a number of doses of history to ponder.
After four days at home, our cats gave us that “there they go again” look, and we packed our bags and headed out again, this time to our nation’s capital. This time we drove to a bus which took us to a train where we spent the night getting what sleep we could muster.
In addition to visiting with our daughter while in D.C., we, not surprisingly, went to museums. The Corcoran Gallery has an exhibit on war photography which is quite moving, as you’d expect. It was broken down roughly into before, during, and after sections, and the people who chose the pictures did a great job, in my opinion, of telling the story of war in a non-sensationalized way, but it was all the more powerful because of it.
We also spent several hours at Arlington Cemetery, keeping with the theme, and saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers. The soldiers on that guard detail really know the meaning of respect and tradition.
We also trekked to the place where more recent burials have taken place, specifically to see the graves of the members of Seal Team Six who were killed after word of their involvement in the killing of Osama Bin Laden was revealed. We didn’t talk much for a while after seeing those tombstones.
One of the highlights to me was our trip to the Air and Space Museum near Dulles Airport. We’d been to the building on The Mall, but this one had plenty of interesting planes and rockets and helicopters (Oh my!) to look at and learn about.
A big part of being in the D.C. area is the constant energy that all the residents (from every part of the world) and visitors (from every part of the world) bring. For some the area is one of economic opportunity, since unemployment is relatively low due to all the government expenditures. For others, their trips to D.C. are a pilgrimage to the history of freedom that our country represents to the rest of the world. We may take it for granted, and not guard it as rigorously as we should, but people from other nations seem inspired by what our nation has accomplished.
So, vacation number two was far from relaxing, but it was energizing. And tiring, if that’s not too much of a contradiction. I can’t look at the White House or the Capitol – no matter who is in charge – without having an emotional response. I’ll take that home with me, and maybe take some inspiration from it until the next vacation comes our way.